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Smash Mouth - Walking On The Sun - Lyrics Meaning

Smash Mouth's "Walking On The Sun" was their first big hit, hitting the charts hard in 1997. The song was actually not a wholly original piece, as the main riffs were taken from the 1966 electronica number "Swan's Splashdown". The lyrics of the song similarly range from the past to the present day.

The song's lyrics represent a history lesson and a commentary on the commercialization of the American lifestyle. Starting with the original hippie movement, the words move through many of the high points of California's culture and counter culture. Though the overall tune stays upbeat, the song actually moves from wide-eyed innocence to horror and violence.

Initially, the song tells the story of the early hippie movement. Then, a modern Gen X viewpoint is introduced, which asserts that "fashion is smashin' the whole meaning of it" and that the movement is now just a shell of its former self. From there, the song documents the ways that the rest of California has lost touch and lost its humanity, culminating in a few lines about the Rodney King beating. It's a lot of history and angst to pack in to a single song, but the up tempo beat and remixing manages to carry it through.

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