Transcending from one music style to another can prove to be a tall order for most artists. However, for Sugar Ray, this was not only easy but also the spotlight moment which led to their mainstream popularity. Formed in 1986, the California rock band played heavier nu-metal style music originally. They would later shift their music style dramatically to some more pop-influenced music in 1997 and for their subsequent releases. Notably, the band’s overall sound throughout their shift in musical style has been categorized as alternative rock with their music generally tongue-in-cheek.
Rodney Sheppard and Mark McGrath have been the band’s face since its inception, sticking with the band in all the twists and turns. Other current members include Dean Butterworth and Kristian Attard. Check out the following top 10 Sugar Ray songs that might offer you more thrill with most of them bringing on the tongue-in-cheek vibe which is probably the major selling point of the band’s music.
# 10 – Answer the Phone
The fourth studio album Sugar Ray (2001) was quite a banger thanks to songs such as “Answer the Phone.” Written by Mark McGrath, Murphy Karges, Stan Frazier, and Don Gilmore, the pop-punk song is one of the band’s greatest jams. Despite making it not making it in the Billboard Hot 100, “Answer the Phone” managed position 12 in the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles. The song is a perfect jam for relationships going through rough tides and still wish to have things right. This is evidenced by the lyrics that persuade a lady to ‘Answer the Phone’ for a guy who misses what they had between them.
# 9 – Mean Machine
Despite obtaining international fame back in 1997 with the shift to some more pop-influenced music style, the Sugar Ray band will always be remembered for their impact on metal music. The jam “Mean Machine” from Lemonade and Brownies is among the few songs that trace the origin of Sugar Ray as a nu-metal band originally. You ought to love the energy the band puts in this song. However, with the world moving to some radio-friendly pop music, we can only have this jam take us back to days when nu-metal was quite a vibe for many including the Sugar Ray band.
# 8 – RPM
What happens when you sync a supercar vroom sound to some guitar and drum sounds on a song? Well, not quite a usual thing that we hear every day until you meet the jam “RPM” by the Super Ray rock stars. Probably, the world had to dig into their nu-metal jams to establish their history. And for many, it was no surprise that this song became one of the best songs of the band. Released from their album Floored, the song “RPM” remains to be one of the best nu-metal hit songs that we can remember from Sugar Ray. The supercar roar and musical instrumental mashup is probably the most unforgettable thing from the hit song.
# 7 – Words to Me
Scooby-Doo! Yeah, Scooby-Doo. That’s all you can remember any time you hear this song from Sugar Ray. Coming from their 2001 album Sugar Ray, the jam was quite a banger thanks to being featured in the Scooby-Doo film. It is a catchy tune and simple but perfect lyrics that add some flavor to the song. And the switch from the stanzas to the chorus can never be better than the DJ scratch vibe tagged along in the song making it feel more like a call to party.
# 6 – Into Yesterday
Like their song “Words to Me”, “Into Yesterday” ushers in yet another song featured in a film as a soundtrack. The hit song “Into Yesterday” is quite memorable having it tagged along with other jams in the 2007 computer-animated mockumentary comedy film Surf’s Up. Thanks to the lyrical prowess of three guys including Stan Frazier, Mark McGrath, and Steve Fox that the song suited perfectly the context of the animation movie. We can’t forget the great work input by the Sugar Ray band from the instrumentals to the vocals.
# 5 – Falls Apart
Ushering us to the top five Sugar Ray songs is the song “Falls Apart” from the band’s album 14:59. The song was quite a success having it featured in multiple international music charts including the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks. Notably, the song was written by the Sugar Ray band members alongside David Kahne who also produced the song. This jam incorporates similar scratch effects on the instrumentals like those in the hit song “Words to Me” adding quite some spice to the jam. However, the true value of this song is in how the band plays the musical instruments for quite some unique and great instrumental for the jam, it may not be Grateful Dead or Eric Clapton type jamming but it’s fun nonetheless.
# 4 – When It’s Over
Released in 2001, the song was featured on the band’s self-titled album as the lead single. Thanks to the long list of personnel involved in making the song “When It’s Over” that it managed to receive quite a nice reception on the radio waves. While Stan Frazier, Rodney Sheppard, Mark McGrath, Craig Bullock worked on the lyrics, David Leonard was on mixing. Passionate producer David Kahne was featured in everything from writing, mixing, programming, and production with the band only left to do what they do best-sing! The song is about having feelings for a person after an end of a relationship marred by repeated breakups earlier.
# 3 – Someday
One of the best performing songs by Sugar Ray was their second single “Someday” from their third album 14:59. And true to the word, the song would reach a peak position of number seven on the Billboard Hot 100, one of the most coveted charts. Its music video brings some new kind of flavor, thanks to the black and white video. All credits to Joseph Kahn, the director of the video, and David Kahne for producing such a great jam.
# 2 – Fly
Featured in Sugar Ray’s album Floored, the song “Fly” became the band’s first ballad to attain the first position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. While it stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as number one for four weeks consecutive, it spent up to eight weeks on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. Following its massive success, the song was included on VH1’s countdown of the 100 Greatest Songs of the ‘90s. While the song possesses quite a bouncy beat, lead vocalist Mark McGrath reveals that the song was about the death-loss of a mother.
# 1 – Every Morning
And down to number one is “Every Morning” which is by far the band’s most successful jam. Featured in their 1999 album 14:59, the song reached a peak position of number one in tons of music charts including the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks and RPM Top Singles charts. Notably, the song’s chorus references “Suavecito” by Malo and “Grazing in the Grass” by Hugh Masakela. With McGrath growing in California, listening to the jam “Suavecito” became quite an inspiration having it played all over the streets. Undoubtedly, the album 14:59 is therefore the band’s greatest album with most of the top songs in the list featured in it.
Top 10 Sugar Ray Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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