Someone at Karaoke Mashed Up John Lennon’s Imagine with Smash Mouth
Saw this on Reddit today: it’s a guy singing the lyrics to Smash Mouth’s “All Star” to the tune and music of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” It’s the worst… right?
I know, Stock Photo Internet Girl who keeps her laptop unhealthily-far away from the front of her desk, that sounds like blasphemy. But hear me out. This is really, really, really cool.
Even if you don’t do the karaoke thing, this is a pretty ingenious idea. I’ve been to a slew of karaoke nights at way too many dive bars where people sing Radiohead‘s “Creep”, Tenacious D, Journey, Bon Jovi and Frank Sinatra tunes (for your less social crowd, because it’s always your quietest friend that brings out the Sinatra).
What he did looks like outright musical blasphemy.
He paired one of the most iconic protest songs of all time with Smash Mouth’s “All Star.”
SMASH MOUTH. And “Imagine.”
John Lennon’s “Imagine” is an song about dreams, revolution and hope. Smash Mouth is one of the most annoyingly overplayed commercial hits about financial success the world has ever known.
It’s sacrilege. Or is it? (It’s not.)
Now bare in mind, I hate Smash Mouth’s music. I’d sooner reheat week-old McDonald’s and serve it to an excited Anna Kendrick expecting a fancy home-cooked meal than I would listen to one of their albums in full (this is where you find out that I’m in line behind the rest of the Internet in wanting to marry Anna Kendrick). But “All Star” is a song taken at face value, while it’s actually a celebration of trying to be subversive while in the mainstream.
All Star’s lyrics start out with a guy who-
“Oh sh*t is he really about to bring us through the lyrics of f*cking ‘All Star’?”
Yes, yes I am.
-The guy is struggling with people who don’t believe in him and think he’s going to get sucked up by some controlling force, with the first verse.
Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me
I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed
She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb
In the shape of an “L” on her forehead
When “the years start coming,” he says that “your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb,” and he proceeds to tell us about how you get lost in it all “So much to do, so much to see.”
But then tells us that he’s not taking the main roads.
So what’s wrong with taking the back streets?
The chorus that you know by heart happens to us and actually elevates your average person, into a rock star, giving them power. Giving them the ability to go beyond what people expect. He knows the formula…
All that glitters is gold
The following verse is actually anti-censorship. He says that the landscape of the music industry “gets colder” as you get older, but the media men (the industry) don’t want you to think so.
Judging by the hole in the satellite picture
That’s a direct condemnation of censorship. The last verse ends with wanting separation from what people see as common and ends with the following.
We all could use a little change
The songs ends with “only shootin’ stars break the mold” which maybe you’ve never really thought of til now, but actually means that people who are on their way out, as Smash Mouth must have felt they were after going through the motions of the industry after hitting it huge with “Walking on the Sun,” have a kind of “last day of school senior year” power to give a big middle finger to “The Man.”
All Star was a song in the middle of their second album which happened to be their overall biggest hit, but it was really meant to be a comment on what they went through with the success of their previous album. And how they weren’t really going to take it anymore.
So I’m not saying that All Star is as important or as amazing a song as “Imagine,” but this guy doing this mashup at a karaoke bar, which in of itself is subversive, isn’t sacrilege. It’s in the spirit of both songs, and is something I’d like to see more after watching some failed actors sing show tunes at Dimples (RIP Dimples).