3 Songs for People Who Say They Don’t Like Sublime

The Long Beach, California-born band Sublime has more hit songs than you likely remember. Like, way more. But for some reason the punk rock-meets-ska group doesn’t get nearly the credit they deserve for the dozen-plus tracks that many of a certain age know by heart, lyric for lyric. Even further, the band and its fans can get flack from music listeners these days for digging their tunes.

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But here below, we wanted to dive into a trio of songs from Sublime that have both stood the test of time and still sizzle. Three songs that enliven and entertain and hold up today—even when played by the band and the late lead singer’s now-adult son. Indeed, these are three songs for people who say they don’t like Sublime.

[RELATED: Behind the Meaning and History of the Band Name: Sublime]

“What I Got” from Sublime (1996)

Released in 1996 on the band’s self-titled album, this is the group’s biggest radio hit. An acoustic-driven song, which was released as a single after lead singer Bradley Nowell’s death by heroin overdose, the upbeat track features a chorus from the song “Loving” by reggae songwriter Half Pint, who was given songwriting credited on the Sublime track. The song itself is all about reasons to remain positive despite a hard life. On the track, Nowell sings,

Early in the morning, risin’ to the street
Light me up that cigarette, and I’ll strap shoes on my feet
Got to find the reason, reason things went wrong
Got to find a reason why my money’s all gone
I got a Dalmatian and I can still get high
I can play the guitar like a motherf–kin’ riot

Well, life is too short, so love the one you got
‘Cause you might get run over, or you might get shot
Never start no static, I just get it off my chest
Never had to battle with no bulletproof vest
Take a small example, take a tip from me
Take all of your money, give it all to charity

“Badfish” from 40oz. to Freedom (1993)

A reggae track from the band’s 1993 album 40oz. to Freedom, this track, like others from the band, have to do with the group’s blue-collar lifestyle. Using ocean metaphors, the acoustic-driven song brings to mind Sublime’s sandy hometown of Long Beach. And the music video for the track shows the group playing their instruments near the surf. Sings Nowell on the beloved track,

When you grab a hold of me
You tell me that I’ll never be set free
But I’m a parasite
Creep and crawl, I step into the night

Two pints of booze
Tell me, are you a badfish too?
(Are you a badfish too?)
Ain’t got no money to spend
I hope the night would never end

Lord knows I’m weak
Won’t somebody get me off of this reef?

“April 29, 1992 (Miami)” from Sublime (1996)

This song is about the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which were sparked by the beating of motorist Rodney King. The track tells the story of a person who smashed in windows and looted stores. It’s a song about an uprising of the working class and the poor and those at the mercy of police violence. For a band known for party songs, this is a politically minded offering that told very real stories. On the track, Nowell sings,

April 26th, 1992
There was a riot on the streets
Tell me, where were you?
You were sittin’ home watchin’ your TV
While I was participating in some anarchy
First spot we hit it was my liquor store
I finally got all that alcohol I can’t afford
With red lights flashin’, time to retire
And then we turned that liquor store into a structure fire
Next stop we hit, it was the music shop
It only took one brick to make that window drop
Finally we got our own P.A.
Where do you think I got this guitar that you’re hearing today?

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