Sugar Ray - Original Album Series (2012) {5CD Box Set}

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Sugar Ray - Original Album Series (2012) {5CD Box Set}
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Alternative Rock, Pop Rock, Funk Metal | Rhino #8122797184

2012's Original Album Series offers five Sugar Ray albums from the peak of their career - 1995 to 2003 - for a budget price. Packaging is basic to save costs, with each album in a paper sleeve that replicates the artwork. Obviously, this is a singles band, but true Sugar Ray fans will be interested to in watching the evolution from the funk-metal of Lemonade and Brownies to the band's first big hit, "Fly," off of Floored. McGrath hit his stride as pop singer with 14:59 and Sugar Ray, which boasted most of the group's biggest songs, and In the Pursuit of Leisure is also worth having.

Belying their origins as a raucous funk metal band, Sugar Ray created several of the most breezily infectious summer singles of the late '90s, hitting on an appealing combination of sunny pop and lightly funky hip-hop grooves with a reggae lilt. Pegged as likely one-hit wonders after their 1997 breakthrough smash "Fly," Sugar Ray managed to maintain their career momentum far longer than many observers expected, aided in no small part by the pinup-worthy looks of lead singer Mark McGrath. Of course, it also helped that the band was able to duplicate the carefree vibe and effortless catchiness of "Fly" on a string of subsequent singles, including "Someday" and "Every Morning." Not everything Sugar Ray recorded bore the sonic stamp of those songs, of course, but that was certainly the sound that transformed the band into a mainstream entity.

Sugar Ray formed in Orange County, the heavily suburban area south of Los Angeles, in 1992. Guitarist Rodney Sheppard, bassist Murphy Karges, and drummer Stan Frazier had been playing parties together in a hard rock/heavy metal cover band, Shrinky Dinx, since the late '80s. Karges served as the touring bassist of L.A. punk veterans the Weirdos in 1990, although a story that Sheppard had once been a cast member on Land of the Lost was patently false. Friend Mark McGrath became the lead singer of Shrinky Dinx after jumping up on-stage to perform one night, and they soon began collaborating on original material. Shows in the L.A./San Diego area helped the band build a regional audience, and a friend of the group even financed a music video for one of their original tunes. The video wound up getting them a deal with Atlantic in 1994, although it owed more to the band's visual presence and potential than the song itself.

The threat of legal action by Milton Bradley, which owned the rights to the original Shrinky Dinks toy, forced the band to change its name to Sugar Ray (after boxer Sugar Ray Leonard). Around the same time, they began augmenting their live shows with the turntables of Craig Bullock, aka DJ Homicide, who later became an official member of the group. Sugar Ray released their debut album, Lemonade and Brownies, in the spring of 1995. Dominated by aggressive funk metal, with touches of punk and alternative rock, the record's typically roaring guitars and smart-ass humor seemed to position the band as a potential keg-party favorite. Commercially, however, the album stiffed.

Atlantic decided to try again, based on the enthusiasm Sugar Ray generated on their lengthy supporting tour, and sent them into the studio with producer David Kahne (who, among many other credits, had recently masterminded Sublime's commercial breakthrough). The result, Floored, became double-platinum hit thanks to "Fly," a laid-back groove that was seemingly tailor-made for summertime. With help from reggae toaster Super Cat, "Fly" set new airplay records at modern rock radio and reigned as one of the summer's most ubiquitous hits. The song didn't sound much like anything else in Sugar Ray's repertoire, however, and when Floored failed to produce a significant follow-up hit, many assumed that "Fly" was a fluke that the band would never be able to repeat.
~ All Music

Track List CD1 - Lemonade And Brownies (1995):

01. Snug Harbor [0:50]
02. Rhyme Stealer [2:52]
03. Iron Mic [4:41]
04. Hold Your Eyes [3:30]
05. The Greatest [3:59]
06. Big Black Woman [1:44]
07. Mean Machine [2:42]
08. Dance Party USA [3:19]
09. 10 Seconds Down [3:41]
10. Danzig Needs A Hug [3:06]
11. Drive By [1:59]
12. Caboose [3:14]
13. Scuzz Boots [3:29]
14. Streaker [7:45]

Track List CD2 - Floored (1997):

01. RPM [3:21]
02. Breathe [3:26]
03. Anyone [3:30]
04. Fly [4:52]
05. Speed Home California [2:42]
06. High Anxiety [3:32]
07. Tap, Twist, Snap [3:13]
08. American Pig [4:01]
09. Stand And Deliver [2:59]
10. Cash [1:36]
11. Invisible [3:10]
12. Right Direction [2:54]
13. Fly [4:05]

Track List CD3 - 14.59 (1999):

01. New Direction (Intro Version) [0:47]
02. Every Morning [3:40]
03. Falls Apart [4:15]
04. Personal Space Invader [3:38]
05. Live & Direct [4:34]
06. Someday [4:03]
07. Aim For Me [2:20]
08. Ode To The Lonely Hearted [3:13]
09. Burning Dog [3:02]
10. Even Though [2:35]
11. Abracadabra [3:42]
12. Glory [3:26]
13. New Direction (Outro Version) [1:18]

Track List CD4 - Sugar Ray (2001):

01. Answer The Phone [4:00]
02. When It's Over [3:38]
03. Under The Sun [3:22]
04. Satellites [3:46]
05. Waiting [3:32]
06. Ours [3:24]
07. Sorry Now [3:18]
08. Stay On [4:31]
09. Words To Me [4:01]
10. Just A Little [3:27]
11. Disasterpiece [2:58]

Track List CD5 - In The Pursuit Of Leisure (2003):

01. Chasin' You Around [3:38]
02. Is She Really Going Out With Him [3:48]
03. Heaven [4:26]
04. Bring Me The Head Of [0:41]
05. Mr. Bartender (It's So Easy) [3:30]
06. Can't Start [3:42]
07. Photograph Of You [3:47]
08. 56 Hope Rd [3:51]
09. Whatever We Are [3:41]
10. She's Different [3:30]
11. In Through The Doggie Door [3:09]
12. Blues From A Gun [3:24]
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