I regret to inform you that Smash Mouth’s song “All Star” has died — again. This time, the pop single was murdered in cold, corporate blood by Jimmy Fallon, NBC, and Disney (by way of Star Wars). Above, you can see officially released footage of the brutal act.
WARNING: it is graphic.
“All Star” lived a blessed and full second life as an internet meme thanks to reincarnations like Windows XP “All Star,” "All Star" by Smash Mouth but every word is someBODY, “All Star” sung backwards, “All Star” by Smash Mouth but every other word is "bee" from Bee Movie and the instrumental is Seinfeld, “All Star” but the words are ordered by Scrabble score, “Photograph” by Nickelback but every word is someBODY, “All Star” but every word is in alphabetical order, "Bring Me to Life" but it's performed by Smash Mouth but it's still to the tune of the original song, everything by Jon Sudano, all of these, and many more. It is survived by its relatives Nickelback, The Bee Movie, and Guy Fieri. Memorial services will be held by the Smash Mouth Twitter account.
What all those sweet goofs have, and what Fallon’s lacks, is impurity. One of the reasons these Frankenstein’s monster versions of popular songs are fun in the first place is because of, not in spite of, the moments where the substitute sounds or arrangements don’t quite fit. They have the spice of authenticity. Since we’re all familiar with the melodies and cadence of a song like “All Star,” there’s an inherent thrill in anticipating or even trying to decode how some beautiful weirdo on the internet managed to fit their version together. You become awed by the work that went into them.
NBC’s version, in the meantime, stays completely inside the lines. There’s no dissonance, no rough edges. The best “All Star” memes teeter so precariously on the cliff of intolerability that they become antagonistic. If you said this Star Wars / “All Star” mash-up is the first fruit from a new NBC Universal algorithm that generates viral-ready videos, I’d believe you; it’s that lifeless.
I digress. Let’s not forget we’re here today to remember “All Star.” In its place, may we find a new song to troll our friends and co-workers with. After all, as somebody once told me, we could all use a little change.