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Music Review: Smash Mouth – Magic

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Smash Mouth has sold over 10 million albums worldwide. Their song, “Walkin’ On The Sun” still pops up on pop, classic rock, and alternative stations regularly and has become a part of the cultural background for many of us. But it’s been six years since the band has had a new release.
That changes with Magic, which shows that the band has, indeed, maintained the sound and appeal of their earlier work.

The songs here are upbeat, catchy bits of power pop. Nothing is too serious, even on songs about darker subjects, as with “Future Ex Wife.” Songs like “Perfect Planet,” “Flippin’ Out,” and “Magic” are pure escapism, but what’s wrong with that? Every song does not have to be earth-shaking or change your way of thinking. Some of them can just make you feel good and be fun to listen to, and that is what Smash Mouth does well.

The ballad in the middle of the recording, “Out of Love,” is a slightly different sound for the band, but not drastically so. It serves to break up the sameness that might otherwise threaten the attention of the listener, as does the addition of hip hop artist J-Dash on the songs “Magic” and “Flippin’ Out.”

I also like the cover of Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me”) which sounds fresh and suits Steve Howell’s voice quite well. It brings back pleasant memories of the original, and that’s all right too.

The one song that sounds a bit awkward is “Justin Bieber.” I was concerned when I saw the title because I really could not think of a good direction for that song to go. It turns out to be about the often fleeting nature of popularity. Honestly, it’s not a terrible song, but it’s just so-so. I don’t think it is up to the level of the rest of the songs.

This review is of the digital download of Smash Mouth’s Magic. The album is also available on CD and in an exclusive version on Amazon.com, which contains six additional remixes that I have not heard.

Over all, though, Magic is an enjoyable recording that should see Smash Mouth entertaining new listeners and pleasing fans as well. Give it a listen. It’s likely to make you smile.

About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.