Sep 26th, 2007 // 39 Comments

sublime.jpgMore fodder for the “worst songs/bands ever” file: That ad for the Nintendo DS game Jam Sessions featuring Sublime’s “Santeria” has, apparently, tricked people into thinking that the song was actually good. This week, the track returned to the Soundscan Hot Digital Tracks chart at No. 179, selling 5,300 copies. Well, at least they can’t do a reunion tour to capitalize on their resurgent fame, right? (Please say “right.”) [YouTube]

  1. ascot-revival

    Nice juxtaposition of kiddie vocals and adult subject matter. I predict this will make an appearance on the next Kidz Bop.

  2. Audif Jackson Winters III

    I was always amused by the fact that the first big Sublime single after the lead singer died listed among the good things in his life the fact that he “could still get high.” Kind of odd to promote that viewpoint from a guy who OD’ed on heroin.

    Also, KROQ in LA still regularly spins “Date Rape”, which is pretty much an unassaible argument for the death of terrestrial radio.

  3. Anonymous

    This song is a great barometer for lapses in people’s musical taste. I’ve been at quite a few parties where it randomly pops up in a shuffle. Those who drop everything, get giddy-eyed, and sing along at the top of their lungs…yeah, those are the people you want to avoid the rest of the night.

  4. The Dewd

    OK, so it got played out in the 90′s, but all snarkiness aside, “Santeria” is actually a pretty good song. Isn’t it? Isn’t it???

  5. jposnan

    When I was substitute teaching, I’d slack off and not make the kids do their work and talk to them about whatever because I got paid 80 bucks anyway, and because I always talk about it, I would usually get into talking about music with them, and I am not kidding, just about every kid said Sublime was one of if not the best bands of the ’90s. I guarantee you at frat parties across the country, this fuckin’ song (and Date Rape, of course, because it’s just so admirably feminist) is in the mix. I guess it could be worse? Imagine if the fat guy from Smashmouth bit it just when they got big.

  6. SomeSound-MostlyFury

    Lead singer is very dead. Band reformed as Long Beach Dub All-Stars some years later. Huge flop. Reunion probably out of the question since whatever questionable amount of talent they had disappeared with his death.

  7. TheContrarian

    The guitar solo is nice. Soulful, even.

  8. Barry White Stripes, Office LW

    @SomeSound-MostlyFury: Someone may or may not have missed the sarcasm train.

  9. rrnate

    You guys need to pull your heads out of your asses long enough to use your ears if you think this is a bad song. Seriously – stop listening to R. Kelly and Kiss long enough to get your judgment back.


  10. Lucas Jensen

    I had friends who liked this and 311. Ugh. That piccolo snare drove me crazy.

  11. Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    In a related story, Pacific Sunwear has reported a tremendous spike in sales.

  12. that-dude-jeff

    it’s unfortunate when people refuse to fess up to their past musical likes that may/may not now be considered “poor”. in all kindness, quit faking. most of you who are now so snarky as shit on idolator used to rock out to this too.

  13. enriquez the water bottle

    @Audif Jackson Winters III: C’mon, “Date Rape” is a pretty good song.

    Best thing they ever did.

  14. cassidy2099

    Yeah, terrible song.

  15. LAKingsin2009


    I agree. The solo in “Date Rape” isn’t bad either. Nowell was a pretty underated guitar player.

  16. LAKingsin2009

    He was also underrated.

  17. Audif Jackson Winters III

    @that-dude-jeff: OK, I admit it. I used to rock the fuck out to the lazy, derivative reggae riffing and the awesome lyrics that speak to the side of me that wants to commit domestic violence.

  18. JudgeFudge

    I’m suprised that there hasn’t been a posthemus tupac/bradley nowell duet yet.

  19. Jess Harvell

    you’re all fired.

  20. Jess Harvell

    p.s. i used to own this album.

  21. parrotrunner

    I used to own this album. I never liked this song and the album made me feel like an accessory to some sort of crime. Common themes of songs: smacking women up, stealing shit, if you end up in prison you’ll get raped and that’s pretty gay, etc

  22. Fraid

    This is weird guys. “Santeria” really isn’t all that bad. Compared to the rest of my musical taste circa 1996, it’s downright great. I don’t get where the ire comes from.

  23. Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @LAKingsin2008: Maybe.

    But could he REALLY “play the guitar like a motherfucking riot?”

    Put me in the “I’ve hated Sublime ever since I was fourteen” camp. In fact, Sublime and Korn were the first bands I remember hearing on the radio that made me think “Wow. I actually DON’T like this.”

  24. The Van Buren Boys

    The lasting appeal of Sublime never ceases to amaze me. Everytime I turn on the radio (which isn’t that often) a Sublime song is one. Granted, Santeria isn’t terrible, but it certainly doesn’t warrent repeated playings after all these years. This is a perfect example in which the death of a lead singer lead to an inordinate amount of lasting fame. I have several friends who immediately perk up when they hear Sublime which makes me seriously reconsider our friendship.

  25. Barry White Stripes, Office LW

    @jessdolator: YOUR FIRED!!!

    /pill bugs from Bug’s Life

  26. The Van Buren Boys

    @The Van Buren Boys: *warrant*

  27. Ned Raggett

    Apologetics for Sublime = marginally more acceptable than Holocaust revisionism. (Less acceptable than hyperbolic blog comment responses to them, of course.)

  28. mackro

    Way too biased based on personal run-ins with the guy randomly while I was in O.C. Time has allowed me to admit that Sublime weren’t the worst band ever, but that’s not saying much at all.

  29. Bob Loblaw

    Hating Sublime is different than hating the snowboard instructors who love them.

    (Yes, Virginia, it’s OK to like bro rock sometimes.)

  30. Cam/ron

    Sublime wasn’t such a bad band back in the day – “Santeria” is actually a pretty good song, it was just overplayed and it still gets aired on every goddamn alt-rock station in my town. Actually, any band that idolized D. Boon and the Minutemen gets 10 bonus points in my book. When I was in high school, Sublime represented the myth of the “soulful” Long Beach stoner/bohemian skater dude whose lifestyle looked exotic to kids stuck in a landlocked suburb.

  31. Anonymous

    Ditto having always hated Sublime. Seriously, I distanced myself from friends in high school simply because they liked Sublim. And then “distanced” became literal when I got out of the small town we grew up in and they’re all still there. Sad.

  32. Cam/ron

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Heh, “Bro’ Rock,” that’s acccurate.

  33. janine

    @Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee: Ha. The first song I ever hated was Fine Young Cannibals. I don’t think Sublime is a great band, and I never owned the album, but the band/this song is nowhere near the worst.

  34. KinetiQ

    Oh man, the school I went to last semester (woot transfer) held a benefit concert for the local domestic violence shelter, and while the best band was a post-punk Police-esque trio, this really awful group of kids played Santeria and the whole crowd loved it.

    Quite possibly one of the least apropos shows to play that song at. I was helping out at the Planned Parenthood table which was surprisingly rarely frequented. Who likes domestic violence and hates free condoms? Answer: that campus.

  35. Chris Molanphy

    Sorry, I’m getting to this post hella late, but I had to share this. The following was written by me in the late summer of 1997 for Phil Dellio’s late, lamented ‘zine Radio On, in which a bunch of rock writers informally reviewed a summer’s worth of singles.

    I’d say this still neatly encapsulates my feelings on Sublime.

    “Wrong Way,” Sublime
    Remember when the death of a band member was reason enough to stop promoting a record? I know, naive question, but there’s a difference between putting out hits and live compilations (cf. Nirvana) and pushing new singles from an act that won’t be around to record a follow-up album. The Traveling Wilburys stopped pushing their first album after the second single, because the videos were gonna get too morbid if every time you heard Roy Orbison, they cut to an rocking chair (the trope in the “End of the Line” clip). Even a new band with tons of promise would, until recently, stop for death; in ’95, For Squirrels recorded a pretty terrific major-label debut, lost half its members in a van accident, and dutifully dropped off the face of the earth. Remember in ’94 the then-comparably-restrained Courtney Love stopped promoting Hole’s album for almost a year because her husband died? Not even a band member, just a spouse?!

    As for Sublime…okay, “What I Got”–a fine single, and there’s enough footage of Bradley Nowell to make a respectable video; why not promote it and rack up some royalties for his kid? But now we’re on single #3, and they’ve used up all the bad camcorder footage of Nowell from before-they-broke club shows; they’re now reduced to using outtakes of the bad camcorder footage. If MTV wasn’t the key to MCA’s marketing campaign for Sublime (guaranteed, they would have sold one-tenth the records without Matt Pinfield plugging them every hour), this wouldn’t be so offensive. And by the looks of it, the other three guys are lost. I mean, doesn’t it hurt? There they are, dragging their asses through Brad-less video after video, and they know exactly how and when the ride is going to end. Talk about prolonging the agony. (4.0)

  36. The Dewd

    @Bob Loblaw:
    Hah. Bro rock. Perfect.

  37. TheMojoPin

    I’m not gonna front…when I was 16-17, I loved Sublime. I also loved gingantic, baggy jean shorts and wallet chains. By the time I went off to college, I basically forgot about them (ALL of them), but their albums lingered in my music collection gathering dust. Then in my junior year, I’m riding in my friend’s car and he throws on a Sublime mix and I was taken aback with just how shitty it sounded. Really slapdash and amateurish and hamfisted…not the worst thing I had ever heard, but just really nothing above the level of a bunch of dudes with some cheap recording equipment dicking around clumsily in between longboarding and bong hits.

    I will say, however, even when I was into them, “Santeria” was the one song on the self-titled album I skipped without fail. It’s really boring and it doesn’t have the hodgepodge production and sloppy sampling that could mask the shitty lyrics and awkward warbling like the rest of the album could.

    Oh, and I’ve got a bro rock band to add…Sugar Ray, bitches. They were like the prettier version of Sublime that all the ladeez loved, which naturally attrcted throngs of bros.

  38. Anonymous

    I never would have dreamed that there was any sort of contingent of people that hated Sublime so much.

    Are we really discrediting the caliber of music they play because of the marketing or the pushing of singles after the singer’s death?

    I know this blog is pop-centric, but maybe its a little too superficial for me.

    Santeria may be overplayed, but what about: Garden Grove, What I Got, Wrong Way, April 29, 1992, Doin’ Time, Waiting for my Ruca, 40oz to freedom, Smoke Two Joints, Badfish, the Scarlet Begonias cover, Date Rape, Rivers of Babylon, Same in the End. What about Saw Red with Gwen Stefani?

    Even if you don’t like them, how can you possible put them into the worst band folder?

  39. Cam/ron

    Other Bro’ rock bands: Smashmouth, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, 311, Barenaked Ladies, Blues Traveler. I suppose that a classic Bro Rocker must be slightly pudgy above the belt, has a shaved head or a close-cropped dude, and tribal tattoos on both arms.

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