An analysis of Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star’ by a UC Berkeley student

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Willow Yang/File

Smash Mouth. The band that shaped an entire generation. Smash Mouth created the music of legends and inspired kids everywhere to break the mold and just go play. Ever since the first time we watched “Shrek,” none of us have ever gotten “All Star” completely out of our heads. No other song is so universally known by its very first syllable or vast amount of YouTube parodies.

As a tribute to this incredible song and everything that came after, we at the Clog have decided to break down the lyrics and analyze them in a way that our R1B professors wish we did in class. We guarantee that your brain will get smarter if you read this instead of studying for your midterms (can’t say the same for your head, though).

“Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me / I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed”

Many of us, especially formerly waitlisted kids (shoutout to our FPF friends), didn’t actually expect to get into this school. Yes, we were smart and high-achieving in high school, but we lacked the incredible extracurriculars or high SAT scores to confidently say we were going to get in. But hey, look at us now. We’re at the number one (recently contested) public university in the world, with dark circles under our eyes and under intense stress. So screw whoever told us we couldn’t make it!

“She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb / In the shape of an ‘L’ on her forehead”

OK, so getting into UC Berkeley was great. But what comes after seems to be just one big L after another. Not understanding an assignment everyone else seems to get easily? Check. Getting rejected from multiple clubs in one week? Check. Having two midterms and two essays due within the span of three days? Another check.

“Well, the years start coming and they don’t stop coming / Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running”

Before you know it, syllabus week turns into week six. You literally haven’t done your laundry since the first week, yet everyone else seems to be getting research opportunities and doing things with their lives. You’re simply sitting in your room trying to make sense of a reading for an intro class. Time to get a move on, kid.

“Didn’t make sense not to live for fun”

You’re still trying to understand that reading, but it’s Saturday, and Chad from Alpha Theta Whatever said he hopes to see you at the game day festivities, so of course that reading goes out the window. But hey, you’re only young once, so go out and forget your responsibilities!

“Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb”

No amount of naps can ever undo the damage that the late nights of studying and cramming has done to our brains. Yeah, we might know calculus, but do we know how to function (see what we did there ;) ) as an actual adult? Nope.

“So much to do, so much to see / So what’s wrong with taking the back streets?”

Um, there’s a lot of things wrong with taking the back streets here in Berkeley, especially at night. It’s not safe, so we definitely wouldn’t recommend doing so. Sorry, Steve Harwell, we’ll have to disagree with you on this one.

“You’ll never know if you don’t go / You’ll never shine if you don’t glow”

Shall I compare thee to the lights of Moffitt on a Friday night?

“Hey, now, you’re an all star, get your game on, go play / Hey, now, you’re a rock star, get the show on, get paid”

Say what you will about our current rankings on the Wall Street Journal or the conservatives in the comments section ranting about how we’re “snowflakes,” but UC Berkeley students are a group of the raddest people on the planet. We’re all busy with an unhealthy number of extracurriculars, jobs and research, all while taking at least 16 units at a time. Everyone works tirelessly day and night, despite the bomb threats and lack of funding for just about everything. We manage to get the hard stuff done and have a good time on the daily, which is pretty sick.

So hey now, we’re all all stars! Go out and glitter like the beautiful golden bears you are!

Contact Sunny Sichi at [email protected].

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