Various - Forever Free: A Sublime Tribute Album (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Forever Free: A Sublime Tribute Album (2006)


Take a trip through any high school across America and you're likely to see three things: men with bushy mustaches and bad suits, ugly girls wearing their little sisters clothes and swearing it fits, and kids in Sublime shirts. Liking Sublime is essentially a high school requisite, so long as you don't want to see the shocked facial expression accompanied with "dude, are you serious right now?"

All kidding aside -- everyone's heard Sublime. Not everyone likes them, but everyone's heard their brand of reggae/punk/dub or whatever else people have classified it as. They've always been a pretty hit or miss band for me, and unfortunately, the memory of the late Bradley Nowell is not so much honored by this collection of misses.

Thrown together without any real big names (save No Use for a Name, Guttermouth, and the Voodoo Glow Skulls,) these 14 songs showcase not so much the style and variety brought to the table by Sublime, but the musical misgivings of those attempting the covers. My eyebrow was first raised at the complete absence of what's arguably Sublime's best recorded song, "Santeria." How can you possibly have a Sublime tribute and not cover "Santeria?" "Wrong Way" and "Caress Me Down" are included, but after hearing those respective renditions I started to take on the viewpoint that maybe not even giving anyone the chance to muck up "Santeria" was for the best.

If I was hard-pressed to find a bright spot here, and trust me, that's the exact situation that would need to take place for me to do so, it'd be Ballyhoo's! cover of "40 Oz. to Freedom," if for no other reason than they did little to alter the original. I realize that liberties have to be taken with cover songs, but most of these are so butchered that it's beyond any possible state of repair.

"What I really wanna say, is there's just one way back, and I'll make it."

So long as I never hear this crap again.