40oz. To Freedom Review

artist: Sublime date: 03/27/2012 category: compact discs
Sublime: 40oz. To Freedom
Released: 1992
Genre: Rock
Styles: Alternative Pop/Rock, Punk Revival, Third Wave Ska Revival, Ska-Punk
Number Of Tracks: 21
This is a positively infectious record that marries varied styles of dub, reggae, rap, sampling, scratching, and badass dancehall ska with old-school punk overtones.
 Sound: 8.7
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 9.7
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reviews (3) 7 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7.7
40oz. To Freedom Reviewed by: UG Team, on march 27, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Seriously doubt that anyone realized how good this band was back in 1992. If you look past their image and alcohol/drugs cloud, you'll probably see very talented musicians, who were not afraid to experiment with a whole bunch of styles. Lead singer/guitarist Bradley Nowell, a natural-born musician with a perfect pitch, along with Eric Wilson (bass) and Bud Gaugh (drums), as Sublime have been able to create an impossible mixture of punk, reggae, hip-hop, dub and ska music right on their first record "40oz. To Freedom". Released in summer 1992 on Skunk Records and distributed independently, it did not become a hit until KROQ began playing "Date Rape" in 1994. The album's vibe is just undeniable - it keeps you bouncing up and down all the way. You can smoke weed to it, you can dance to it, you can even cry to it - one thing you cannot do is stay aside with a grin on your face. On "40oz. To Freedom", Sublime varied their beats from hardcore punk gallop ("Hope", "New Thrash") to funk samples ("Scarlet Begonias"), guitar-wise it's reggae upstrokes and pumping bass-lines ("Smoke Two Joints", "Don't Push", "What Happened") with an acoustic touch to some tracks ("KRS-One", "Rivers Of Babylon"). // 8

Lyrics: Well, Bradley's songs here, on "40oz. To Freedom", are quite simple - main themes are partying, smoking and generally having fun in Southern Cali. However, some tracks tend to stray from this: "Date Rape" (in humorous fashion) tells a story of a victimizer being sent to prison and getting raped there himself, "Ebin" is about a guy turning Nazi (again, in Sublime's not-exactly-too-serious fashion). "Chica Me Tipo" is sung in Spanish. Nowell's lyrics will get much more thoughtful, poetic and personal on the next records - here, it's all about passion and vibe - no matter what he's singing about, it's positive to the bone. // 6

Overall Impression: Many mainstream listeners prefer their eponymous LP, "Sublime" (1996), which came out after Bradley's unfortunate overdose death, but this LP to me is what Sublime is all about - no regrets, no possessions, no obligations - just neverending summertime fun on the beach. A perfect party album to someone, still, "40oz. To Freedom" is a record of sustained beauty, power, insight and groove, even if Christgau dismised it as "nothing special". Hard to pick best tracks, the album runs smoothly - I'd name "Smoke Two Joints", "Don't Push", "Let's Go Get Stoned" and "Date Rape" as highlights (seems arbitrary anyways). Give it a listen sometime to remind yourself of all the good times you've had and to anticipate the ones you will have. Cause Jah won't pay the bills. // 9

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overall: 9.3
40oz. To Freedom Reviewed by: pocallaghan2002, on may 10, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The styles on this record are mostly ska and reggae inspired songs, but there are a few punk rock and thrash tunes as well. The sound quality is not the greatest, but this is to be expected, as this was a low-budget album. The music is fantastic and original, though, so you don't really notice that much. I like it because the bass really stands out, but doesn't drown out the excellent guitar playing of Brad Nowell (RIP). A really good balance of instruments, and an overall great sound. // 8

Lyrics: As is characteristic of Sublime, the lyrics aren't really deep and menaingful, but they reflect the life that this band lived. A hard playing, hard-partying one. Lots of tunes about drugs, sex, and havin' a good time. They may not be deep, but they aren't trying to be. They fit the music well, and don't seem out of place. // 10

Overall Impression: This is a great album by a great band. Maybe not quite as good as their self titled, but still excellent. If it was stolen, I would definately buy it again. A definate must buy, but I suggest buying "Sublime" if you are just getting into the band. The best songs are "40 Oz To Freedom," "New Thrash," "Date Rape," "Hope" and "We're All Gonna Die For Our Arrogance." A great album by a great band. RIP Brad. // 10

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overall: 9.3
40oz. To Freedom Reviewed by: SSaxdude, on february 17, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound of Sublime, especially on this album, is probably the best part of their music. "40 Oz." has a heavy ska and reggae sound, but with the energy of punk rock. There are so many different styles of music on this album. This is one of those albums where you can get a different experience by listening to different tracks. I would leave this CD in my car for days and listen to different songs based on what I wanted to listen to. Take the songs "We're Only Gonna Die", "New Thrash", and "Hope" and it's like a punk album. Listen to "5446...", "Badfish", "Scarlet Begonias", "D.J.s", "Right Back", and "Rivers of Babylon" and you've got a relaxed sound that will always bring a smile to your face. I would say that the sound on "40 Oz. to Freedom" is better than the mainstream self-titled album and the experimental "Robbin' The Hood". Several of the songs on this album are covers: "Smoke Two Joints" (the Toyes), "We're Only Gonna Die for Our Arrogance" (Bad Religion), "5446 That's My Number" (Toots and Maytals), "Scarlet Begonias" (Grateful Dead), "Hope" (The Descendents), and "Rivers of Babylon" (The Melodians). So that gives you a sense of their influence. The previous reviewer said the sound quality isn't great; I disagree. Even on a low budget, this album sounds great. The effects, double tracked vocals, and balance of instruments sounds great. The live track "Rivers of Babylon" sounds amazing, it's almost like you're actually there listening to the song. The only thing that sounds amateurish is the sampling, which probably wouldn't sound as cool if it sounded cleaner, so I won't complain. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are good for what they're trying to accomplish. A lot of lyrics about partying, drugs, and alcohol. "Badfish" is a little deeper because it's about struggling with heroin addiction. Several of the songs are covers, but the lyrics on the covers are similar to the ones written by Sublime. Sublime's lyrics aren't amazing like Nirvana's or Joy Division's lyrics. But at the same time, there aren't any lyrics that irritate you or sound out of place. I would say that the lyrics on the self-titled album are slightly better than on "40 Oz.". Some of the lyrics are also lifted from other songs (like from "Rudy, A Message to You" in the song "D.J.s"). // 8

Overall Impression: This is a great album that doesn't compare to any other artist. There were many ska bands in the 90s, but most of them sounded cheezy, like they took an upbeat song and added trombones and trumpets (Reel Big Fish I'm looking at you!). There is little not to like about this album, and I notice cool things every time I listen to it that I hadn't before. This is Sublime's best album. The self-titled album had less energy and sounded too mainstream for Sublime. "Robbin' The Hood" was really cool, but spent a little too much time experimenting for the sake of experimenting. I would definitely buy this CD if it got stolen, especially since it's like less than 10 bucks at most stores. // 10

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