Slightly Stoopid “Everyday Life, Everyday People” album review
Reggae rock is what it is today from the direct influence of few bands – Sublime being the breadwinning bellwether. But, Sublime made its mark on music in many ways, a primary one being when frontman Bradley Nowell unknowingly left his legacy in the hands of two adolescent Ocean Beach boys after signing them to his Skunk Records label in 1995. That’s right, Kyle and Myles formed Slightly Stoopid long before they formalized their grade school education, releasing their self-titled debut album by 1996. Fast-forward 22 years, the band is on their 9th studio album and celebrating 20 years on the road with Everyday Life, Everyday People: a 13-track dub-heavy album featuring an all star collaborative lineup. Embedded in the album are messages of love (and hate), odes to friends and strangers alike and enough good times to keep the party going for another 20+ years if need be. And, you better believe the band’s not going anywhere any time soon… they’ve already ascended to the tippy top years ago.
Fast-forward 22 years, the band is on their 9th studio album and celebrating 20 years on the road...
With two singles already circulating the airwaves, Everyday Life, Everyday People officially opens to the public this Friday the 13th. 13 tracks on Friday the 13th… don’t let the omen scare you, this album is too fire to flop. Jumping right in, the first track “Glocks” is of the instrumental variety: vibey, jazzy, with reggae rhythms, that signature Stoopid reverb and a smooth guitar. The title suggests an allusion to gun violence – quite a national problem right now. The track’s cool timbre creates a ‘cruising the streets’ kind of imagery, like on patrol on the set of Miami Vice, that is until the crescendo kicks and that same smooth guitar gives way to a wailing solo. Wailing like sirens. Is this album fueled with political overtones? Perhaps. Or, perhaps it’s an homage to the modern American. We are all “Everyday People” and always will be. Are we content with our pursuit of happiness? If we live long enough to enjoy it, sure. Let’s minimize hatred and focus on love; let’s all just put the glocks down for a second. The second track “Stay The Same” (Prayer For You)” features longtime friend, touring comrade and Jamaican legend Uncle Don Carlos, as well as that familiar laidback Stoopid sound. Harmonized vocals ask for everything to “stay the same”, for “you make the sun shine”. At first, listeners might think that the lyrics are praising the band’s double-decade longevity. Let’s stay together – “all my lovin’… send it to you always”. If that’s not a reference to the world’s first power boy band, The Beatles, then what is? As the song unfolds further, it becomes clear that this song is actually well wishing a fallen homie, one in need of positive vibrations now more than ever. “Always praying for you, my brother,” Stoopid states, we’ve got your back and “this one’s for you.” Lighting a candle in your honor and watching the flame burn leads to track three “Fire Below”, a song about how “searching for the sun” has led to being on top of the world.
Up next is the lead single off the LP, “If You Want It”, alongside Italian reggae artist Alborosie. Life is what you make it and the American dream is subjective. Success is there for the taking, so “reach right out and grab it now” before someone else steps up to the plate. Dreams lie dormant in everyone, “some actin’ like they never know” they can turn into realities. Be true to who you are and what you want, as long as you remain respectful to others. “Come with love,” chants Alborosie, the unconditional kind please. More tracks along this opportunistic wavelength is track five “Too Late” (after 20+ years, it truly is too late to turn back now) and track seven “Higher Now” featuring Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na. The verbal Herman Munster adds hip hop to the already vibing album, rapping “music is a higher consciousness – don’t mean to sound pretentious”. This ode to music’s natural ability to instill freedom and contentment is enchanting. Let’s all emancipate ourselves to a Stoopid soundtrack.
Let’s all emancipate ourselves to a Stoopid soundtrack.
Several covers are sprinkled throughout the album, one being a fun and frivolous version of Peter Tosh’s 1976 politically-charged “Legalize It”. Considering marijuana is currently legal in Stoopid’s home state, the band is encouraging other states to take suit by adding a new verse to this classic stoner jam. UB40’s Ali Campbell is also on the track, and fun fact, “Legalize It” was covered by UB40 back in 1998, the year Stoopid started touring 20 years ago. It’s all so cyclical. More fun facts, the song was originally covered by Slightly Stoopid friends Cypress Hill in 1993 and SS founders Sublime in 1995. So cyclical. From one cover to another, the album takes the listener from Peter Tosh to Slightly Stoopid covering themselves! That’s a twist! Track nine mashes up “Nobody Knows” off Stoopid’s 2007 Chronchitis LP with a new track “No One Stops Us Now”. Like renewing vows, SS puts an end to “Nobody Knows” mentality with absolute certainty – we simply cannot be stopped. It’s refreshing to hear the band recommit to not only themselves, but their fans after all this time. How fitting for an anniversary tour. Speaking of resurgences, the title track has G Love’s hip hop hot sauce spicing up the 1968 Sly and the Family Stone favorite, “Everyday People”.
As much as Stoopid members want to mingle with the people, some people unfortunately suck. Lest we forget, not everyone can hang. In “Talk Too Much”, Don Carlos’ second collab on the album, Stoopid asks for certan people to stop “judging everybody”: stop “running your mouth” and “take a look at yourself”. This leads to what has to be the best ‘F YOU’ song in history – “Punisher”. Someone has really pissed off Kyle McDonald, for he literally lists all the ways he thinks you’re “fucking DUMMBBBBBBBB”. With a cheeky Americana feel, “Punisher” is the hidden gem on the whole album.
Last, but not least, the second single ends the new LP in style. A beautiful song for all the band members’ wives waiting back home, “One More Night” pines for solace at the end of a long time away from your loved ones. Touring for 20 years takes a toll on your relationships; living the high life amongst everyday people is the greatest until you realize you’d rather be living an ordinary life back home with just one person. The extra-ordinary person that stole your heart. They’re used to the routine by now, but that doesn’t make the process any easier. “Tears fall from your face” as we gather our bags, “it’s time to leave” once again. It’s ironic that Slightly Stoopid spouses are not part of everyday life.
Traveling is all part of gig and Slightly Stoopid is known for their expansive tour schedules! Pollstar named the band one of the biggest touring acts of summer 2017 and the School’s Out For Summer Tour this year is no different. Currently underway, Slightly Stoopid has been bouncing from town to town since May alongside longtime reggae rock friends Pepper and Stick Figure. This year marks a 10-year reunion tour with Pepper, as well. All these anniversaries! Make sure to mark your calendars and buy your tickets now from when this colossal tour hits a town near you and pre-order Everyday Life, Everyday People today.
Pre-order Everyday Life, Everyday People album:
- Stay The Same (Prayer For You) feat. Don Carlos
- Fire Below
- If You Want It feat. Don Carlos
- Too Late
- Livin' In Babylon feat. Yellowman
- Higher Now feat. Chali 2na
- Legalize It feat. Ali Campbell
- No One Stops Us Now: Nobody Knows
- Talk Too Much feat. Don Carlos
- Everyday People feat. G Love
- One More Night
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Reggae.