Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Dec. 8, 2006
Everything Under the Sun (Geffen)
Like Kurt Cobain's suicide, the overdose death of Sublime frontman Brad Nowell in May 1996 occurred at the peak of the group's popularity and creativity. The SoCal trio was months away from the release of their Paul Leary-produced third album, which generated three hit singles. In that wake, the band quickly released a couple of live albums and rarities, Stand by Your Van, Acoustic: Bradley Nowell & Friends, and the aptly named Second Hand Smoke, even as Geffen repackaged the band's previously available back catalog. Now, nearly a decade after Sublime's unceremonious demise, comes Everything Under the Sun, a 3-CD/1-DVD collection of demos, remixes, 14-minute interviews (seriously), and every other found piece of recorded audio possible. Unlike Nirvana's With the Lights Out, however, this set doesn't gaze into the mind of a mythologized artist. Sublime's genre-defying music was simply about bringing people together to get stoned and living life 40 ounces away from Freedom, but these throwaway tracks from the band's early years aren't even worth a second listen. While it's humorous to watch Ron Jeremy portray both judge and prison inmate in a music video, there's only so many times one can be subjected to "Date Rape" on a compilation before the fun and ingenuity wears off. Talk about finding roaches in the pot.