One of my all time favorite albums is 40oz. to Freedom by Sublime. It was their first album and was released under a made up label that was used because in the 1990’s, venue owners would only have bands signed to record labels. The album is rough. The first song starts out with a dog barking that sounds like it was recorded on a boombox. The album is something that a major label would never put out. That is what makes this album so special. If it would have been more refined and had better production values, it would have lost a lot of its soul. As much as I love Sublime’s self titled album, it has a very different feel and I don’t feel as connected to it as 40oz. to Freedom.
One of the criticisms of the album is that they mix too many different styles. Their music contained a mixture of hip hop, punk, and reggae. This is one of my favorite aspects of the album as you can listen to a band trying to figure out who they are. It was like we got a live look into their creation process.
There’s something wonderful about people starting out and releasing their talents to the world. It may be before even they know what they want to be and stand for. It’s an inspiration to me to just put something out there. It will change over time and maybe I’ll even look back fondly at where I started.