Among music cognoscenti, owning certain albums can automatically earn a member a red card or even the wholesale revocation of ones membership pass. Which is unfortunate, considering the massive oversight or reduction that often accompanies the stigmatization of such albums. Sublime, the trio that leapt out of the ’90s Southern California ska-punk scene and onto national pop charts, has held on steadily to this hot seat for over a decade with its third and final self-titled album. Certainly, Sublime deserves its share of derision, considering its reductive take on black aesthetics; understandably, along with Dave Matthews Band and Limp Bizkit, Sublime completes the Greek system’s picture-book-on-tape trifecta. However, in between flogging the third-wave-ska hide and speed-reading hardcore texts, the album also smears the homogenous face of mass appeal; from the LBC re-up of Gershwin on “Doin’ Time” to the Corona-worthy “Santeria,” Sublime has kept Sublime alive on modern MOR radio stations across the nation.
Admittedly, the 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition does little to change the band’s reputation. Remixes of “Doin’ Time” with Wyclef, Mad Lion and the Pharcyde are mostly reminders of how popular the group had become, and the cozy demos and acoustic versions are jumps offs for the extensive Everything Under the Sun rarities boxed set. However, Sublime: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition remains a testament to the new Americana standards of pop: repetitious hooks, tragedy (lead singer Brad Nowell’s fatal overdose was sandwiched between the mythologizing deaths of Kurt Cobain, 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G., no less), and that ever-marketable blue-eyed sparkle.