’s Failure In Happines Essay, Research Paper

Sublime s failure in Happiness

To fully understand Sublime and the meanings of their songs a bit of background information must be presented so that full comprehension of their tribulations will be understood. With a band name of Sublime you would think that the pursuit of happiness for these creative minds has been found. Unfortunately this is not the case, as the members of this renowned group stumble through alcoholism, drug abuse and a longing for Sublime . This is apparent as Brad the lead singer and writer for the majority of songs is constantly fighting and losing in the pursuit of happiness. Throughout Sublime s five albums it is obvious Brad is pushing himself farther and farther trying to find happiness through the abuse of drugs and alcohol. This battle finally overcame Brad with a fatal heroin overdose that butted the future of one of the most promising bands of its time. The remnants of Sublime still tour and cover Sublime s famous songs but it is obvious the loss of Brad has made it difficult.

Sublime s second album 40 oz. to Freedom features a variety of songs that show the bands fight for happiness or Freedom. Its title reflects what their vision of happiness is and while this may seem meagre to an older audience the youth of today can relate completely to their attitude. Brad is an abuser and his songs do not hide it, whether it is women, the law, alcohol or drugs Brad explains his experiences through songs. A good example of this is a song called What Happened which is outlined below:

What happened

Wake up in the morning,

clock says half past one

I have no sunglasses

As I step into the sun

There’s no recollection

of the evil things I’ve done

My head feels like I musta’ had some fun

What happened

Last thing I remember

I was chillin at a party

Pinching girlie s asses

I was drinking recklessly

I know I did something

Lord what could it be

Woke up in the morning

And all my friends say me

What happened?

What am I doing here?

Who is this girl in my bed?

What is this shit on my face

My God, what is that awful smell

(Chorus) She may be an angel

She may be a queen

She might be black, white, American, Indian or Japanese

Threw a bottle at a bouncer

Didn’t think that he was cool

Pissed in someone s drink

And through a bike into a pool

Driving down the side walk

Like a crazy possessed fool

I broke every single traffic rule.

What Happened? (2x)

(Chorus again)

While all songs have denotative and connotative meanings, in the song What Happened Sublime uses a theme which teenagers can relate to while Brad explains his life challenge. Wake up in the morning clock says half past one. I have no sunglasses as I step in to the sun . These first lines explain through denotative means the act of waking up and going outside in to the sun. While we know, through irony, Brad has had a rough night seeing how morning is one thirty and also for the necessity of sunglasses. This act can relate to almost every teenager s weekend while through connotation Brad actually speaks of his life. He shows that he wastes his life and things seem to work against him. This is more apparent in the following lines: There s no recollection of the evil things I ve done. My head feels like I must have had some fun. What happened? Though this specifically says that he knows he has done something evil, he can not remember what. It also suggests that a feeling his head now has, proves that prior to now he must have had some fun, but once again he does not know what. This obviously refers to the next day after a hard night of drinking. He knows he did some things that might be deemed evil or bad but this is what his life s about and the pain reflected by this and in his head is what he enjoys. He later describes the evil things he did throughout the song. Last thing I remember I was chillin at a party, pinching girlies asses and drinking recklessly. This part of the song through denotation describes a last memory where he was cold at a party while physically pinching girl s asses and consuming liquids foolishly spurring danger. Obviously for our sense of connotation we know that Brad was at a party drinking irresponsibly and abusing women in some fashion whether they liked it or not, we don t know.

Once again Brad questions what happened: I know I did something Lord what could it be? Woke up in the morning and all my friends say me. What happened? Brad is now asking the Lord what he had done, he doesn t know exactly what he had done but he knows something did occur. Apparently the denotative message says that every one of his friends says the word me in the morning. This is actually a cry for help as he is looking for a higher power or anything for that matter to help him. His friends give him an answer but it is expected; he knows that he is responsible and they just remind him of that.

Brad starts to realise the choices he has made in life and the night before: What am I doing here? Who is this girl in my bed? What is this shit on my face? My god, what is that awful smell? Here denotation suggests that Brad doesn t know what he s doing wherever he is, he doesn t know the girl in his bed, he has shit on his face and he questions an awful smell. Though this seems like a very bad morning for Brad he is actually questioning his life. He has come to a point in life where his abuse of drugs and women makes him realise that he has done something wrong and he knows it stinks. The next few lines are the chorus and it supports the idea that Brad has lost control over his choices. She may be an angel, she may be a queen, she might be black, white, American, Indian or Japanese. Brad is looking for something pure in life, which is signified by the queen or angel but he has lost control and it could have been anyone he had slept with the night before. To a denotative listener the girl in his bed could be an angel, a queen, black, white, American, Indian, or Japanese.

Brad is now examining the actions of his previous night, though if we interpret the meaning of this he is reflecting on his life or his previous sins. Threw a bottle at a bouncer, didn t think that he was cool. Pissed in someone s drink and threw a bike in to a pool. Driving down the sidewalk like a crazy possessed fool, I broke every single traffic rule These are not unusual actions for Brad and he knows it. He is examining his life and he realises that everything he has done till now has been petty and meaningless. He has broken everything in life that is important and this is signified in the last sentence. If we were to examine the denotative meaning Brad had thrown a bottle at a bouncer because he didn t think he was cold. He urinated in someone s drink and threw a bike in to a pool. He also went crazy or possessed which made Brad a fool leading to him driving down a sidewalk. The chorus is now repeated showing the lack of control in Brad s life. Once again he questions what happened? but we know that he lost control over his life due to the abuse of alcohol, drugs and women.


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