-->
Music

Smash Mouth: Get the Picture?

Will Harris

Smash Mouth

Get the Picture?

Label: Interscope
US Release Date: 2003-08-05
UK Release Date: 2003-08-25
Amazon
iTunes

It's very hard to dislike Smash Mouth.

Unless, of course, you listen to the radio in any capacity whatsoever, in which case you may well have put them on your enemies list after "Walkin' on the Sun" was played into oblivion back in '97. And if that song's constant appearance in the rotation didn't make you want to punch them in the face, then, surely, the even more ubiquitous and upbeat "All Star" from a few years later legitimately made you want to throttle them. (Don't even get me started on their cover of "I'm a Believer", from the Shrek soundtrack.)

Stupid ol' radio. It ruins so many songs for so many people.

"Walkin' on the Sun" was -- and is -- a great, '60s-styled, organ-driven single, albeit one that, after you'd heard Smash Mouth's 1997 debut album, Fush Yu Mang, you were pretty sure was going to be a one-hit wonder for the band. And, yet, when the group released their sophomore effort, Astro Lounge, two years later, it was astounding to find that the group actually had an album's worth of songs in 'em that were all almost as strong as their breakthrough single.

Perpetual repetition of the track may have permanently impaired the memory of the first time you heard "All Star", but, if you try really hard, maybe you can vaguely recall that your initial impression involved noting just how fun a song it was, and, in particular, how great that bit is where they sing, "All that glitters is gold / Only shooting stars / Break the mold".

Clearly, the band's had a way with a single from the get-go. Their self-titled third album featured "Pacific Coast Party" and "Holiday in My Head", both of which were solid pop nuggets. Still, Smash Mouth wasn't the success that its predecessors had been, and the reason why seems to be when it was released: November.

Isn't it obvious to everyone by now that Smash Mouth is the definitive summertime fun pop band of today's generation? And having achieved that lofty position, why on earth would their label, Interscope, release their new album in the cold months of winter?

Thankfully, Interscope learned at least a little bit from their error. Get the Picture?, Smash Mouth's latest album, made it to stores at the beginning of August, as summer was winding to a close.

Smash Mouth aren't afraid to mine '80s pop for inspiration. For Friends Again, the second collection of songs from NBC's Friends, the group contributed a kick-ass version of Let's Active's "Every Word Means No". In addition, the last track on Astro Lounge is a cover of "Can't Get Enough of You, Baby", which was also a cult hit for the Colourfield, Specials frontman Terry Hall's post-Fun Boy Three group. Since Smash Mouth' s beginnings were rooted more in ska than pop, it's no surprise that they'd be Terry Hall fans, nor, somehow, that they'd think it was cool to get Ranking Roger, late of the (English) Beat and General Public, to guest on "You Are My Number One", the first single from Get the Picture?. The song was written for the band by Neil Diamond, who came into their circle of friends courtesy of their covering "I'm a Believer".

As with its two predecessors (and, to a certain extent, with Fush Yu Mang, too), much of Get the Picture? flows together as one long Farfisa-fueled symphony. This is good and bad; what they do, they do well, but it's still rather easy to suggest that each Smash Mouth album has, more or less, sounded like the last.

Is there anything on this disc that particularly stands out as different from its antecedent? Nah, not so much.

But if you already like Smash Mouth, you'll be sitting pretty with this Picture.

Music

The Best Indie Rock of 2017

Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

Indie rock may be one of the most fluid and intangible terms currently imposed upon musicians. It holds no real indication of what the music will sound like and many of the artists aren't even independent. But more than a sonic indicator, indie rock represents a spirit. It's a spirit found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. In so doing they uplift each other and celebrate each other's unique qualities.

With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

Keep reading... Show less
7

Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image