On Friday, Mark McGrath and Sugar Ray returned with a new album, the amusingly titled Little Yachty. Both a pun referencing rapper Lil’ Yachty and the album’s mix of laid-back summer anthems, it’s quite a fitting title for what’s going on here.
Far removed from their heavier metal-tinged early days, Sugar Ray’s musical pedigree this time is relaxing jams with good vibes and warm lyrics, and that’s all on display throughout Little Yachty, the first Sugar Ray album since 2009’s Music For Cougars.
Kudos to McGrath for the self-referential and tongue-in-cheek approach explored by Sugar Ray each time he gets the band back together for a new musical project. They’re quite content in their place in music history, responsible for still-in-heavy-rotation late ’90s anthems like “Fly,” “Every Morning” and “Someday,” and the result is a comfortable batch of songs that won’t really surprise anybody in their delivery.
There’s even a fun cover of “Escape (The Pina Colada Song),” for good measure and a nod to the ‘yacht rock’ theme of the album as a whole.
Billboard ran a great write-up on how this somewhat surprise album came about:
“Two days after I came out of the (Big Brother) house, the guitar player said, ‘Dude, you’re not gonna believe this…’” McGrath says. It turns out producer Lloyd sent “Higher Tree” to BMG, which wanted to sign Sugar Ray to a new deal. “I was just so happy to get out of the house — ‘Omigod, I’m free!’ — and this comes along and I was like, ‘You gotta be f***ing kidding me!’” McGrath says. “We figured out the economics of it that made it work for everybody. It doesn’t have to be such a substantial investment anymore. It’s all streaming now, and we’ll make a couple (physical) copies for shits and giggles. So we were like, ‘Yeah, let’s get in the studio.’ Michael Lloyd was willing to produce the rest of the record and we took our time. There was no fourth quarter we had to hit. It’s the first time we’ve ever been in the studio with no expectations at all. I think we made a fun record.”
Stream Little Yachty below, via Spotify: