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All Star Smash Hits
     

All Star Smash Hits

4.5 2
by Smash Mouth
 
Steve Harwell and company have all but single-handedly revived the musical sidebar that might be called luau rock -- you know, the unflaggingly breezy sounds that cats 'n' kittens grooved to on the beach during countless sun-and-fun flicks. As this career-spanning retrospective demonstrates, it's not so much that Smash Mouth's sound is all that indebted to early-'60s

Overview

Steve Harwell and company have all but single-handedly revived the musical sidebar that might be called luau rock -- you know, the unflaggingly breezy sounds that cats 'n' kittens grooved to on the beach during countless sun-and-fun flicks. As this career-spanning retrospective demonstrates, it's not so much that Smash Mouth's sound is all that indebted to early-'60s rock 'n' roll (although their cover of ? and the Mysterians' "Can't Get Enough of You Baby" proves they know their way around those parts). Their link to that past is one of attitude -- an irony-free good humor that's sparked them, from the bouncy neo-ska of "Walking on the Sun" to the harmless horndoggery of "Beer Goggles." Like all good party bands, the quartet boast a mastery of the cover tune, but unlike standard lounge acts, Harwell and company unfailingly give each a wicked spin. Their version of the Blow Monkeys' "Digging Your Scene," for instance, replaces the original's faux-jazz sheen with a shuffling funk beat (and plenty of that ubiquitously punchy organ). A take on War's "Why Can't We Be Friends" (culled from the Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack) hews a little closer to the initial blueprint but still takes on Smash Mouth overtones, thanks to Harwell's immediately recognizable delivery. There are no ulterior motives here -- at least none beyond keeping those tiki torches lit until the wee hours -- and that's what makes Smash Mouth such a valuable party weapon.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Ask anyone who was there in the halcyon days of Y2K what it was like, what it was really like, to live through the changing of the millennium, and they'll answer you this: you couldn't escape that damned "All Star" song. Anywhere you turned -- radio, TV, movies, movie trailers, advertisements, sports games -- all you heard was Smash Mouth's irrepressible ode to clueless losers, a self-empowerment anthem for the ignorant and entitled (really, it was a tune ahead of its time, since it easily could have been mood music for the Paris Hilton era). For a couple of years there, Smash Mouth seemed ubiquitous, though in retrospect they only had a few big hits: "All Star," its peerless predecessor "Walkin' on the Sun," "Then the Morning Comes," and "Diggin' Your Scene," plus covers of Let's Active's "Every Word Means No," the Four Seasons/Fun Boy Three's "Can't Get Enough of You Baby," and the Monkees' "I'm a Believer." That's more than most bands have, but doesn't quite explain why it seemed as if Smash Mouth were impossible to shake for a few years at the turn of the millennium. Then, a closer inspection of the liner notes to their first hits collection, All Star Smash Hits (well, what else was it going to be called?), reveals an answer. There are songs from the following movies and soundtracks on this comp: Mystery Men, Baseketball, Snow Day, Can't Hardly Wait, Friends Again, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Me Myself & Irene, Pacific Coast Highway, Shrek, Austin Powers: Goldmember, and The Cat in the Hat. That's more than half of this generous 20-track collection, and it doesn't even come close to representing all of the soundtracks and collections featuring Smash Mouth -- it misses such gems as Another Rosie Christmas, 2000's Digimon soundtrack, Jailbait! Music from the MTV Original TV Movie, 2001's Rat Race, 2002's Clockstoppers, 2003's The Jungle Book 2. No wonder they seemed like they were everywhere: they were! They seemed to accept any offer that came their way, including gigs like, say, Radio Disney, that most bands would be happy to leave behind. But, no, Smash Mouth happily took the work, becoming pop culture white noise in the process -- music that was easy to tune out while still registering subconsciously. To be given so many opportunities to sell out the band had to be good enough -- good enough to sell their hooks, but not distinctive enough to cause waves. All Star Smash Hits proves that the group was indeed good enough, arguably better than Sugar Ray, their closest rival among SoCal ska-punk/metal bands to shamelessly grab the brass ring. Sugar Ray rocked harder and were more diverse, but Smash Mouth found their groove -- a summery update on pre-Beatles frat rock as learned via Animal House, early-'80s T&A movies, and new wave -- early on and then stayed in it, aided by Greg Camp's lean, tuneful, hooky songwriting and good taste in covers. They didn't have any real standouts apart from those aforementioned hits, but they always delivered cheerful, relaxed party music that makes the time go by smoothly and speedily. They never made a bad album, but they hardly made a memorable one, either, and that applies to this hits compilation. It's far better than cynics would suspect -- and it's surely nice to have all the big hits in one place, even if smaller singles like the Neil Diamond-written "You Are My Number One" are missing (maybe that didn't make the cut because 25 was the closest it got to number one on the charts) -- and it's always good-hearted fun, but it's also too long, which makes it less memorable as a whole. So it's a bit like summer itself -- wondrous at first, so good that you wish it would never end, but by its conclusion, you're ready for the fall. Such an arc is appropriate for a band that provided the soundtrack for every summer between 1997 and 2001. [A couple of other fun things about All Star Smash Hits. Seven of the 20 songs are covers. Head songwriter Greg Camp is billed as Gregory Camp for all the selections from their debut but Greg Camp for everything else --- which is kind of strange, because songwriters usually get pompous and use their full name after they have success (music reviewers, on the other hand, start out pompous, using their full names from the get-go).]

Product Details

Release Date:
08/23/2005
Label:
Interscope Records
UPC:
0602498841501
catalogNumber:
000521802
Rank:
1386

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Smash Mouth   Primary Artist
Michael Urbano   Drums,Group Member
Paul DeLisle   Bass,Bass Guitar,Background Vocals,Group Member
Greg Camp   Guitar,Background Vocals,Group Member
Steve Harwell   Vocals,Group Member

Technical Credits

Neil Diamond   Composer
Donald Fagen   Composer
John Lennon   Composer
Paul McCartney   Composer
Walter Becker   Composer
Harold Brown   Composer
David Campbell   String Arrangements
Karl Derfler   Producer,Audio Production
Mitch Easter   Composer
Sandy Linzer   Composer
Denny Randell   Composer
Michael Urbano   Programming
Eric Valentine   Producer,Audio Production
Lyle Workman   Producer,Audio Production
Smash Mouth   Composer,Audio Production
Robert Fisher   Art Direction
Morris Dickerson   Composer
Jacquire King   Producer
Kevin Coleman   Composer
Paul DeLisle   Composer
Greg Camp   Composer,Producer
Steve Harwell   Composer
Gerald Goldstein   Composer
Ryan Null   Photo Coordination

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All Star Smash Hits 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The only song that I ever heard, that I know of, is All Star. Who hasn't heard that song. Anyway, I got it from my music club, by mistake, and it's acctually a pretty good cd. They sound kinda like a cross between Sugar Ray, and Bare naked ladies. If you can imagine that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago