The 50 Worst Songs of the ’00s, F2K No. 32: Smash Mouth, “I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)”


F2K is a countdown of the 50 worst songs of the decade. The complete list is here.

Baloo would be rolling over in his grave if he heard this.

Human soul patch Smash Mouth rose to fame in the ’90s as the living ruination of nth-wave ska. They had the exasperating vibe of a braying white doofus in a porkpie hat demanding that you should totally hang out with him, but none of the pesky ska-punk trappings like “energy” or “excitement.” Somehow the malicious pricks who run movies saw a lot of wholesomeness potential in the band that made Fush Yu Mang, and started recruiting Smash Mouth to submit their shitty songs–or worse, original music–to every straight-to-punchline movie on the planet. Here’s how this awesome decade went for Smash Mouth:

Movie Studio: We’re making a movie about a talking dog that travels into the future to solve—

Smash Mouth: Shut the fuck up. Where do we sign?

Oh and they cover songs too. In 1998, these clowns released a dumbed-down, unfunky version of War’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” and it quickly became apparent that they were willing to mix a warm-ginger-ale version of any song. How about “Can’t Get Enough Of You Baby?” That could be annoying enough for Can’t Hardly Wait. How about covering the Monkees? Surely Shrek could shake his fat green ass to that! A Steely Dan cover? Throw it in Me, Myself And Irene!

Movie Studio: How about a Beatles song, guys? Wouldn’t that be beautiful? You guys could buffoon it up. And then we could jam it in this piece of shit live-action Cat In The Hat movie we’re making

Smash Mouth: Ooh, we can defile two beloved institutions at once! Synergy! We love it!

Movie Studio: We knew you would.

Smash Mouth: We’ll shit on an American flag too if you want.

Movie Studio: That won’t be necessary, Smash Mouth.

So when Disney came calling for the not-at-all-long-awaited Jungle Book 2, Smash Mouth got cracking on their most stupid track to date: a chilled-out cover of the 1967 film’s classic track “I Wan’na Be Like You.” Surely, the bong-sucking baby geniuses behind “It ain’t no joke, I’d like to buy the world a toke” could improve on Louis Fucking Prima, right?

If “improving” means slowing down the original’s hyperkinetic swing rhythm into a weed-soaked Crazy Town rap-rock daze—and turning an exciting song into the sound of a couch potato picking Cheeto dust off his crotch—then job well done, Smash Mouth. The wack rap part switches to a doofy pop-punk chorus so fast, you’d think King Louie stopped wanting to be human and actually wanted to be just like Bowling For Soup. And there’s also a Dick Dale guitar solo, some wacky scratch solos, and the bass player’s jazz runs. This mess has many disparate elements, it almost ruined Jungle Book 2 for me!