Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sublime - Robbin' The Hood (1994)

This first posting may very well have been the most difficult. What to review first? Should I waddle in common sense and play it safe by endorsing my favorite album, or perhaps indulge you with my most recent spin? Would anyone prefer if I produced a diatribe for the world's worst album, or began with something obscure but brilliant? I believe true wisdom can be culled from a beer and a pair of dice, and therefore I have swindled this cherry act with a bit of randomness of my own.

Sublime's second album, Robbin' The Hood, is a decidedly mixed affair: while it features the trio's flourishing of punk/reggae/ska/hip-hop/acoustic chops and grooves, much of the album consists of lackadaisical dubs and snippets of sampling that feel like leftovers rather than true cuisine. For what it's worth, the actual songs on the album are fantastic, fused with a sense of the playful and serious that Sublime has come to be known for; and as incomplete as the dubs seem, they provide the necessary skeletal structure to show why the great songs rock as much as they do. In fact, "Lincoln Highway Dub" serves as a template for later in "Santeria" on their self-titled effort in 1996.

My personal faves are the plaintive "Pool Shark (Acoustic)," 90 seconds of what arguably foreshadows singer Bradley Nowell's heroin overdose and remains one of Sublime's finest and most powerful acoustic numbers; "All You Need," a frenetic little thrasher featuring vintage Brad scat; "Saw Red," a duet with the otherwise terrible Gwen Stefani -- I suppose every does dog have its day; "Boss D.J." and "Mary" are two additional solid acoustic numbers; and "STP" is just classic Sublime. This album also features the bizarre introduction of one Raleigh Theodore Sakers, a gentlemen of absolute impeccable insanity and whose soliloquies and artful zingers simply must be heard to be believed; yet, while providing a nice comic touch between tracks, they ultimately lose their punch after you've recited them incessantly to your annoyed family and friends. Otherwise, repeated listens should only be to determine if this guy was real or not. Definite duds: "Q-Ball," "I Don't Care Too Much For Reggae Dub," "Steady B Loop Dub." Overall: B+. Treat yourself to the band.

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