#TBT: The Multipurpose Tool of Music: Smash Mouth

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“Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.” Circa 2001 with the release of the movie Shrek , these lyrics could be heard across the country on various radio stations and echoing from the mouths of children as they jammed out on their CD players. Just to provide some perspective, all of this happened thirteen years ago – feeling old yet? Although Smash Mouth released their most popular album, Astro Lounge, 2 years earlier in 1999, their presence as a dominate music force wasn’t really felt until the release of Shrek, as contributing to the soundtrack for the movie significantly increased their popularity. Although Smash Mouth is listed as a ‘rock band’ their personalized style and distinctive sound represent a unique style of music and there aren’t many bands like them. I can guarantee regardless of your musical preference Smash Mouth has a song for you, and I know most of you don’t believe me – so I will prove it! If you take a listen to their greatest hits album, properly titled All Star Smash Hits, you’ll find that as you progress through the CD, the songs represent a motley assortment of genres ranging from ska and funk to rock and pop.

Proof:

All Star, Walkin’ on the Sun, Flo: These first three songs of the album demonstrate the ability of Smash Mouth to simply jam out like a true rock band. While their claims to fame All Star and Walkin’ On The Sun are relatively laid back and easy to sing along with, Flo provides a much more hard-hitting and aggressive style that isn’t necessarily found in a majority of their tunes.

*Justin Beiber: That’s right this song is entitled Justin Beiber and if that’s not funny enough, give a listen to the rest of the song because it’s nothing short of hilarious. I honestly could not believe someone allowed this song to be produced. This song appeals to those who don’t necessarily like Justin Beiber and those who want to “stick it to the man” as Smash Mouth attempts to channel their inner Rage Against the Machine by taking a jab at the obsession with social media and other dominant trends but really just show their age and the establish the fact that they’re past their prime.

*Believe it or not, or should I say Beleib it or not, this song isn’t on the greatest hits album.

Beer Goggles, Pacific Coast Party: At the beginning of Beer Goggles, the listener is greeted by a Beach Boys-eque intro that resonates throughout the remainder of the song as it accents the more generic rock persona of Smash Mouth. Additionally, although Smash Mouth isn’t Surfin’ USA, they are throwing a Pacific Coast Party, so far you ‘gnarly dudes’ and ‘bodacious babes’, this song is just for you!

Waste: For all those indie and alternative fans out there, although Steve Harwell is no Ed Sheeran, this song does provide a somewhat indie experience for the listener. As Smash Mouth abandons the electric guitars, keyboard, and upbeat tone, they pull out the acoustic guitar and relatively depressing lyrics in attempt at an indie tune. I mean Sheeran might as well have written this himself “I'm moppin' up the floor/from messy recipes of romance/I'm packin' up the pots/too many cooks in the kitchen”

Why Can’t We Be Friends: Smash Mouth breaks out some phat bass lines, upbeat guitar, and a killer horn line as they provide the listener with an energetic ska sound. After the funky guitar intro, the silky smooth horn line takes over momentarily provides the foundation for a true ska tune.

Ain’t No Mystery: This song is quite the combination of music genres. Moreover, the song starts with some solid work on the turntables before the reappearance of the horn line accents. Additionally, if you listen close enough the guitar and bass parts sound like they were spliced from the popular funk song Superstition and embedded right into this song.

As you can see Smash Mouth appeals to a wide range of listeners and with spring break just around the corner, keep them in mind. When it comes time to make those beach and road trip playlists what better artist to include than Smash Mouth? Based out of San Jose, California Smash Mouth definitely captures the essence of summer and partying into all of their songs. But really, they have a song entitled Pacific Coast Party, how could you go wrong? Anyways, if you’re feeling some throwback in the coming weeks, give Smash Mouth a listen and you won’t be disappointed. Although their popularity seemed to wane as the Shrek movies became more redundant than comical, Smash Mouth produced a plethora of enjoyable tunes that will incite everyone to sing along and reminisce.