Critical Analysis of Santeria

Topics: Sublime, Bradley Nowell, What I Got Pages: 3 (1081 words) Published: April 28, 2011
"Lovin' is what I got." Simple words written by a simple man. A simple man who was not a poet, or a master lyricist for that matter. The front man for Sublime. Brad Nowell was a happy go lucky soul with a rock star attitude. He first laid his fingers on the wood and wire at the age of thirteen and immediately began to develop his own niche in the music world. Inspired by reggae and his Southern Californian upbringing, his unique guitar playing burnt up auditions and shows alike and would eventually propel him to a record deal. However, Nowell was never anything extraordinary. His melodies were catchy and his upbeat ska sound made feet tap yet Nowell never had the essence of Dylan or the soul of Hendrix. By the time he died in May of 1996, Brad Nowell looked like he would go down as a simple man who had a short life and an even shorter time on the radio.

That is, until Santeria hit the radio on July 30th of that same year. A little over a month after Nowell passed away, his final album with Sublime was released. One song in particular stood out and would later come to define Sublime and their recordings. That song was Santeria, and although it would become the defining work of Nowell, it was nothing like anything that had ever come before it. The poetry in the lyrics was nothing like the early and quite often meaningless ballads written by Nowell and the accompanying music was slower and full of soul unlike the hard hitting roughness of the reggae that had come to be expected from Sublime. A perfect example of one such meaningless Nowell ballad was Date Rape. The song drags on for over three and a half minutes as Nowell recounts in an almost monotone fashion a story of what seems to be irony. He tells of a man, who after raping a woman, ends up behind bars and is now occasionally raped himself by fellow inmates. The story is somewhat repulsive and the accompanying music is repetitive and quite obnoxious. Comparing such ballads that were the standard of Nowell...
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