Sunday Music: The (Perfect) Un-Originality In Sublime’s “Caress Me Down”

I was in a conversation last week with someone who brought up how original and fresh 90s music was. I said it was refreshing, in the sense of how it was such an original act of musical collage, but it wasn’t in and of itself anything new. 

They disagreed. 

I got sublime. 

Or more literally, I went Sublime.

This rant normally would take me into dissecting the Pixies and disco out of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” but I’ve been on a Super Cat kick. So I guess I’m diversifying my rants. 

Below you’ll find, in video order, Sublime’s killer track “Caress Me Down,” followed by the song its hook and structure is pretty much jacked straight out of (Clement Irie’s “Caress Mi Down”), and then the two central rhythm and bassline references (one of which is Wayne Smith’s “Under Me Sleng Teng,” and the other which is from Super Cat’s “Dolly My Baby,” but the latter is also a derivative reference too, hence my ordering). 

Just like Dave Grohl will tell you his drum fill launching Teen Spirit is nothing more than a Gap Band riff, I’m telling you the crossover collage behind Sublime’s quasi-hit is enough to make Virgil Abloh and his 3% rule smile. 

Today’s music involves a lot of collaging of collages. It just means we have to approach it a little differently as listeners and critics. But whatever music you think is sacred or pure or fresh, get over it. And dig, because it’s so worth it. 

Who knows, you might even be inspired to think, “Maybe I can do this too.” The words spoken before every musical revolution. Every one