My Chemical Romance released their first single since 2014 yesterday. Kendrick Lamar just dropped a new album. But did you know that this morning, Owl City remixed Smash Mouth’s seminal hit “All Star”?
You might be wondering why we are covering this on TechCrunch, which is not a music website. My editor is probably wondering the same thing. But here are the tech angle(s):
- “All Star” is to internet culture as “Jane Eyre” is to gothic literature. It’s a classic. Especially with the rise of TikTok, songs are memes now — be honest with yourself, did you know who Capone was before the “oh no no no” song went viral? How many Gen Z-ers listened to Fleetwood Mac for the first time because of the Ocean Spray longboarding guy? Smash Mouth would have faded from relevance much earlier if “All Star” didn’t appear in the opening sequence of “Shrek,” a film that has become inextricable from its second life on the internet.
- Let’s not forget Owl City, the solo project of electronic (tech angle!) musician Adam Young. The dude knows he’s a one-hit wonder, and he’s in on the joke. He wrote the lyric, “You would not believe your eyes/if ten million fireflies/lit up the world as I fell asleep,” then goes on to claim that he got “a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs.” Listen. I might be a writer who is shitposting about Smash Mouth on a Friday to distract herself from other things (uhh, Elon Musk), but I A.M a writer, and I’ll tell you, that lyric makes no fucking sense. But Owl City did what any butt of a joke on the internet had to do: he committed to the bit, cementing himself as an all star. When a fan asked him what he meant by that lyric — “does each firefly hug you 1,000 times, or do only 1/10th of the bugs give you a hug?” — Young wrote a long Facebook post (yes, Facebook, a technology company — tech angle!) confirming that he “was embraced 1,000 times by 10,000 luminescent insects.” Great stuff here.
- John and Hank Green helped shape the creator economy as we know it—their business DFTBA Records fulfills merchandise purchases for a number of independent internet personalities, and they co-founded VidCon, an annual convention about online video. Not to mention that they helm one of the longest-running, large internet communities via their YouTube channel, vlogbrothers. Online video? Big deal. How many letters from congress have been written to TikTok recently? Tech angle. But to bring things back to “All Star,” the two forty-something-year-old men spent several months over the course of 2020 only uploading YouTube videos titled with lyrics from “All Star.” It was kind of a beautiful project.
- Owl City’s remix of “All Star” is only being distributed digitally. Is that a tech angle?
Anyway, if you want to distract yourself from the doom and gloom of tech, have you considered listening to Owl City’s remix of “All Star”? Have you read the very serious press release, in which Smash Mouth’s Paul Delisle calls the song “a wonderfully creative and unique reimagining,” noting that it is an “honor” that Owl City remixed it? Did you know that Adam Young says “All Star” is one of his favorite songs of all time, and is he serious, or is that part of the joke? Did he really get 1,000 hugs from 10,000 lightning bugs each?
Okay, here’s the song: