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Music / Smash Mouth

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(L-R) Greg Camp, Michael Klooster, Steve Harwell, and Paul DeLisle

Smash Mouth is an alternative rock band who started in 1994 in San Jose, California—with Steve Harwell (lead vocals), Greg Camp (guitar), Paul De Lisle (bass) and Kevin Coleman (drummer), as well as session musician-turned core member Michael Klooster (keyboards) and various turntable operators. The line-up has since changed quite a bit, with only De Lisle remaining after Harwell retired in 2021.

Most famous for their album Astro Lounge and the hit single "All Star", a quintessential late-nineties party tune which debuted in the movie Inspector Gadget for one scene, then later used to promote Mystery Men and would be used in other films such as Digimon: The Movie and Rat Race, but was immortalized through its inclusion in the first Shrek film.

Some of their less-popular albums have received the highest critical praise, such as their debut Fush Yu Mang, which reached double platinum. After Astro Lounge was released, they went from being pretty underground to pretty popular, which drove away their original fan base.


Though initially a Ska Punk band, they later added synthesizers and a few experimental elements, and a production heavily-influenced by Surf Rock and Psychedelic Rock of The '60s. Songs generally contain lyrics about the standard sex, drugs and rock 'n roll, but they also satirize politics on occasion, if only in a lyric or two. (See "Stoned," which pokes fun at then-President Bill Clinton's infamous claim that he "didn't inhale.").

Albums released:

  • Fush Yu Mang (1997)
  • Astro Lounge (1999)
  • Smash Mouth (2001)
  • Get the Picture? (2003)
  • The Gift of Rock (2005)
  • Summer Girl (2006)
  • Magic (2012)


Some-BODY once told me the tropes were gonna roll me, I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed...

  • As Themselves: On Kim Possible
  • Bad to the Bone: "All Star" got used in a lot of comedy films for the sake of a feel-good atmosphere.
  • Christmas Songs: The Gift of Rock consists entirely of these.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: In 2015, Steve Harwell cussed the crowd out at the Taste of Fort Collins festival when someone threw bread at him.
  • Comically Missing the Point: This verse from "All Star".
    Somebody once asked, could I spare some change for gas
    "I need to get myself away from this place."
    I said "Yep! What a concept!
    I could use a little fuel myself
    And, we could all use a little change."
  • Cover Version: They've done quite a few, including "Why Can't We Be Friends?" (War), "Can't Get Enough of You Baby" (Question Mark & the Mysterians), "I'm a Believer" (Neil Diamond / The Monkees), "Getting Better" (The Beatles), "I Wanna Be Like You" (from The Jungle Book (1967)), "Bus Stop" (The Hollies), and "Do It Again" (Steely Dan).
  • Curse Cut Short: "Force Field" contains the line "I'm pulling a miracle out of my..."
  • Genre Shift: Their first album included an element of then-popular Third Wave Ska influences, while subsequent efforts leaned in a more Pop Punk or Surf Rock direction.
  • I Was Having Such a Nice Dream: Once the video for "Then The Morning Comes" turns out be All Just a Dream, Steve smashes his alarm clock.
  • Lighter and Softer: Their first album was the only one to receive a Parental Advisory sticker.
  • Little Green Men: "Who's There" mentions them by name.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: The "SOME-" at the start of "All Star" may be one of the most popular and memetic instances of this in recent music history.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "All Star", if you actually pay attention to the lyrics, is a pretty cynical song about a guy who fancies himself an iconoclast but is really just a superficial, hedonistic idiot.
    • "Walking On The Sun" is about the struggle to overcome the generation gap and not repeat the mistakes of our elders in getting complacent and conservative, put to a peppy, upbeat surf rock tune.
  • Mistaken from Behind: The music video for "I'm a Believer" has this happen repeatedly; Steve chases after someone with long blonde hair like his beloved's, but when the person turns around, it's some random dude.
  • Mistress and Servant Boy: The basic relationship between the singer of "Always Gets Her Way" and his girlfriend. The girl herself has some Hidden Depths though, which is all but explicitly stated to be why he loves her so much.
  • Russian Reversal: In "Walkin' On The Sun", one of the lines is "Put away the crack before the crack puts you away."
  • Sampling: The main riff in "Walkin' on the Sun" is based off of Jean-Jacques Perry and Kingsley's "Swan's Splashdown"
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: Likewise, "Walkin' on the Sun" quotes a lot of commercials in the lyrics.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The music video for "I'm A Believer" plays Steve out like this, only to reveal at the end that he was just trying to return the woman's keys.
  • Video Full of Film Clips: For all that "All-Star" is associated with Shrek, its video is actually themed for Mystery Men. Though the other Smash Mouth song in Shrek, "I'm a Believer", does feature the cartoon heavily.


Video Example(s):


All Star

The first Shrek film uses Smash Mouth's 1999 song "All Star" as its opening theme. The song was fairly commercially successful upon its initial release, but its usage in Shrek is nowadays what it's mostly known for.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (37 votes)

Example of:

Main / RealSongThemeTune

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