Smash Mouth is indie rock now! Or maybe indie rock loves Smash Mouth? Or maybe Smash Mouth loves indie rock? It’s confusing, but I’m just happy the band best known for their contribution to the Shrek soundtrack has decided to cover budding indie A-listers Car Seat Headrest, and CSH has agreed to do the same. You heard me: Last week, Smash Mouth shared a pretty great take on Car Seat’s “Something Soon,” and now you can check out the younger band’s take on the 1999 Smash Mouth album, Astro Lounge, through the (non-single) “Fallen Horses.”
This bizarre team-up began, like most good things do, on Smash Mouth’s tacky-but-savvy Twitter account, a vessel for nostalgia, beefs, and continued relevance through Shrek memes. Sometime in 2016, whoever mans the Mouth account declared Car Seat Headrest’s “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” one of “the best songs of 2016 point blank.” Then, a few months later, some random Twitter user suggested that they make a split EP together, and both parties agreed to do it. Who knows if that’ll happen, but we now have two earnestly good covers out of it, so anything is possible.
Smash Mouth currently exists in two worlds that often collide: they’re both an untouchable meme, and a band that sometimes plays free and open-to-the-public outdoor concerts. (I saw one of these last year, where dozens of people in attendance dressed up as Shrek, surrounded by police horses. A friend aptly called it “white chaos.”) You’d be fighting an uphill battle to argue that frontman Steve Harwell and the gang are in their prime. And yet, they continue to enter contemporary cultural conversation because of an interest in hyping younger bands on Twitter.
Aside from the Car Seat Headrest union, Smash Mouth’s thrown their Twitter support behind other artists who don’t really sound anything like their brand of wonky ‘90s alt rock: Perfume Genius (a “great band flying under the radar,” despite having nearly 900,000 more Twitter followers than Smash Mouth) and Brooklyn indie rock fixture Parquet Courts (or, “the Ramones meets Joe Jackson.”)
This is all so strange, and so much better than it has any right to be—we can only hope it leads to more insane collaborations down the line.