Nostalgia can be tricky and, if it’s directed at something you have no personal connection to, pretty stupid. The ever-accelerating nostalgia cycle is deftly skewered by “Mouth Sounds,” the brilliant new mixtape from musician/comedian Neil Cicierega.
Not every sample used in “Mouth Sounds” comes from the ‘90s, but dredging up the decade’s most embarrassing pop culture misses is at the album’s core. Five different mashups of Smash Mouth’s “All Star” should leave no lingering ambiguity about Cicierega’s intentions; “Full Mouth” (#2), which combines “All Star” and the Full House theme, doesn’t quite work as a club track, but “Imagine All Star People” (#3), which blasphemously pairs the mall parking lot jam of 1999 with John Lennon’s “Imagine,” is enough to bring any Buzzfeed-loving “‘90s Kid” to their knees.
The first track, a sinister mix of the opening lines of (what else) “All Star,” sets the tone for what’s to come, but Cicierega’s inspired mix of Homer Simpson quotes and Dave Matthews Band’s “Ants Marching” is what really opens the gates to nostalgia hell. As the album goes on, the tracks grow more and more grueling, so by the time the Smashing Pumpkins/Loverboy mashup “Mullet With Butterfly Wings” ends and the opening notes of Enya’s “Sail Away (Orinoco Flow)” delicately float into the mix, “Mouth Sounds” begins to feel less like a party and more like a declaration of war.
The overall effect of “Mouth Sounds” is akin to dropping acid at a Media Play going-out-of-business sale; if that sounds like your idea of fun, the album is available as a free download on Cicierega’s website.