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Sugar Ray

It's time for me to set the record straight for everyone. Sugar Ray are awesome. And not in an ironic way. Totally, genuinely awesome. Even their early metal stuff. I know you're thinking, "Come on Chad. You can't really think Sugar Ray is any good aside from listening to 'Every Morning' while driving to the beach and even then feeling a little guilty about it". I say you need more sunshine in your life. A little analysis.

Lemonade and Brownies (1995)

Two years after forming and relentlessly touring Los Angeles, Sugar Ray was signed by Atlantic Records and recorded this debut album. It's totally hard rocking, guitar crunching metal inspired by Rage Against the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers with a couple of hints at the band's cheery pop sensibilities that would come out in full force later. And it rules. Check out the tracks "Hold Your Eyes" and "Danzig Needs a Hug" for some early hints at greatness. And also don't forget where the title "Dance Party, U.S.A." came from. This album isn't great, but it's no write off either.

Floored (1997)

This is where the magic really started, and I'm not talking about their first hit "Fly" either. That is one of the weaker tracks on the CD. From the pounding beginning of "RPM" to the last blasts of "Right Direction", this album is a burst of infectuous energy. Great hooks, great riffs and Mark McGrath slowly coming to terms with singing instead of shouting all make this a must for any fan of good music. Definitely check out the Adam & the Ants cover "Stand and Deliver" for a refreshing blast of fun.

14:59 (1999)

Commonly known as the sell out album. Excuse Sugar Ray for being smart enough to realize that people liked their groovy, melodic sound better than their hard rocking metal sound. Both were theirs to begin with and there's still plenty to rock your socks off here. Check out "Glory" and "Aim for Me" if you don't believe me. But what really shines here is the pop. At the time I proclaimed "Every Morning" maybe the greatest song of all time and the years have only seen me back off from that statement slightly. Add "Falls Apart", "Even Though", and "Someday" to the mix and you've got the entire soundtrack to a sunny barbeque on one CD. Rolling Stone even say it has "gorgeous psychedelic guitar hooks and drum loops". I saw Sugar Ray live while they were touring with this album with Orgy and it was a fantastic show. Mark McGrath even stepped into the crowd and gave me a high five. And he deserved it.

Sugar Ray (2001)

And the hits just kept on coming. "When It's Over", "Answer the Phone", "Under the Sun", and that's just the first three tracks. By now Sugar Ray had perfected their breezy sound and had it trademarked. Not a single miss on the entire CD that sees the band dabble in everything from reggae to country. Amazing.

In the Pursuit of Leisure (2003)

This is the album that killed the band and doomed them to playing county fairs for the rest of their career. And it's their own fault for choosing "Mr. Bartender" as the lead single. It's a weak song and shows them experimenting in a genre they could not compete in. If they had gone with "Chasin' You Around", "Heaven", or "Whatever We Are", they might still have a fanbase bigger than me. But, what's done is done. This album is terribly underrated.

Look at what I mean. Their next few shows are:

7/21/05 Jackson County Fair (Central Point, OR)
7/29/05 California Mid-State Fair (Paso Robles, CA)
8/18/05 Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa (Kelseyville, CA)

The list goes on. This is embarrassing. Maybe they should just give it up now that I think about it. But really, they are awesome. The reason I bring all this up is that Sugar Ray has just released a greatest hits CD that debuted at number 131 on the chart. This is not the fate that they deserve. Only one other band has given me as many smiles and good times in my adult life as Sugar Ray has, and I think we all know who that is. But come on people, forget the fact that Mark McGrath now hosts Extra. Forget the fact that their videos were directed by McG. Forget how lame everyone else thinks Sugar Ray is, and admit how awesome they really are.

buy it
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6:25 PM

As you know, I'm with you on this one.    

10:16 PM

Wow aaron. As you should be able to from the first photo ALONE, you're wrong..    

10:51 PM

Don't forget the naked chick.    

6:16 AM

This blog appears to be all about guys making a bold statement that something everyone knows is bad is actually really good. When your readership includes, essentially, myself and Smokey Cloud, how brave is that, really?    

3:13 PM

"everyone knows is really bad" or "everyone thinks is really bad"?    

5:29 PM

Touché, Hartigan. Touché.    

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