One big bubbly hit with a sing-a-long chorus, an album with a silly name
(designed to make the parents of teenagers sound like they're cursing if
they go to buy it as a Chrissie pressie) and a severe lack of image
(they look like overgrown, overweight skate-punks.) Smash Mouth look
destined to follow Green Day, Offspring and (hopefully) No Doubt into
the bargain bins.
That would be a huge pity. This is a brilliant album. The sentiment of
"Let's Rock" sums this album up perfectly, when you're feeling down and
nothing's going your way, stick on some good music and "Fuck it, let's
rock". In comparison to the boring commercial ska-rock of the
afore-mentioned Californians (No Doubt) Smash Mouth seem to be utterly
devoid of a plan. All the same elements are in place - ska, punk, rock,
funk, but Smash Mouth sound like they're having so much fun, it's
"Flo" is an appeal to a girlfriend's lesbian ex-lover to take her back,
"Walkin' on the Sun" is the big hit, a 90s surf-pop number happily
bemoaning the state of the world. "Let's Rock" is, as I said before,
their solution to the blues, "The Fonz" is a wish to be cool like,
obviously, the Fonz. "Pet Names" is about the end of a relationship
where "Sweetie-pie" becomes "X" and "Nervous in the Alley" is about
homelessness. But, while the subjects may be serious, the medium isn't
depressing. Like Chumbawamba, this is fun music that makes you feel
good. You only have to think about the subjects if you want to.
The stand-out track is "Padrino", a gansta-ska number with a huge
splattering of pseudo-hispanic vibes for extra cool. It reminds me of a
Mexican band I saw a few years ago called something like Venisa Vesindad
(feel free to correct me).
All in all, a great album that makes you feel really good, and isn't
that the aim of most bands?
by Donnacha DeLong