Get the Picture? Album reviews.
Release Date: 08.05.03
Record label: Interscope
by: bill aicher
Since their debut single, "Walking on the Sun," Smash Mouth have pigeonholed themselves as a "fun in the sun" kind of group. This first attempt gained them quite a bit of a following throughout the frat-rock audience. But it wasn't until the release of singles like the now-legendary (for all the wrong reasons) "All Star" and their go at The Monkees' classic "I'm a Believer" on the Shrek soundtrack that the band truly realized and embraced who their core audience is: the younger pre-teen crowd.
And listened to with this state of mind, Get the Picture isn't all that bad. But it's still pretty bad. You see, after three major releases, the band hasn't gone anywhere. They're still doing the fun-in-the-sun / southern California surf-rock kind of thing; and they're still not doing it very well.
Given the recent resurgence of 60's and 70's style rock from bands like The Thrills and Cato Salsa Experience, it's become only more apparent just how mediocre Smash Mouth really is. Then again, it's tough to say the band has fallen into mediocrity as they've been hovering around it for some time now - hit singles aside.
As for Get the Picture? there really isn't all that much to get. With lyrics like "If we all drive 25 we're getting nowhere / If we all drive 75 we're getting there faster / If we all drive 105 we'll get to heaven on time" from "105" the band doesn't do much to engage the listener. Get it straight guys: you can write simple lyrics, but it helps your case if they have some sort of destination.
Lyrical absurdities abound this album, but if that sort of thing isn't a problem for you, there's always the not-that-impressive musicianship. Again, Smash Mouth are following their same tired formula of laid-back surf rock with cheesy organ synths that are supposed to be reminds us of the simplicity 60's psychedelia. The bigger problem though is the fact that the songs just really don't have the soul to make you care. Rather than exist as a fun trip to simpler times (both musically and socially), Get the Picture sounds formulaic and forced. Maybe it's due to lead singer Steve Harwell's constant angry growl, I don't know.
What I do know is that above all, the feeling I get when listening to Get the Picture is a feeling of frustration. Get the Picture proves once and for all that Smash Mouth best exist as a corporate band destined for commercials and movie soundtracks, and if someone wants to buy the albums that hold the filler making up the rest of their catalog, good for them. As for myself, I've tried to steer clear of this band but decided to give them a chance this go around.
I should have stuck to my guns. 05-Aug-2003 6:22 PM