Single Review: Smash Mouth “You Are My Number One”

You Are My Number One
Album: Get the Picture
Year: 2003

Lead singer Steve Harwell realizes he may not outlive his girlfriend and lets her know she’s the most important person to him in the simple-minded and morbid “You Are My Number One.”

An electronic drum sparks then fades into kiddie pop reggae. A chirpy Harwell says he’s not ready to go die yet. While he rather not die, he will eventually. But he wants be aware of a certain fact (“Hold me down/I’m gonna fly straight to heaven/Hold me down/Don’t ever let go/I’ve been around/You know I can’t stay forever/And when I leave/I want you to know.”)

In the chorus, he says that once he’s dead, it’s going to be like he never existed. Until then, they will create plenty of joyous memories. She’s the one who will be in every single pivotal moment. (“When I’m finally gone, I’m gonna be gone without a trace/There’s a lot of good times ahead before we’re done/And on top of this list of things before I leave this place/You are my number one, yes you are my number one.”)

He’s gullible when it comes to her. She can say anything, even something as ridiculous as “pigs and elephants are flying in the sky” and he will think it’s the truth. Ranking Roger (from 80s group English Beat) interjects with a disbelieving “say what?” He tells her to remain right where she is. She’s the only person in his life and he’s scared she will be taken away from him. Ranking Roger demands her to stop moving. If he cannot see her in his sight, he would rather be murdered. Well, he’s a co dependent psycho who relies solely on his girlfriend to fulfill him. (“Cause you can tell me lies, you know that I’d still believe you (say what?)/Stay right here dont leave from that spot (come right back here my girl)/I can’t go, you know I’m afraid to leave you/Don’t you know? You’re all that I’ve got/I’m afraid if you go you might disappear behind a mist/And I’d rather be hung from a tree or shot by a gun/And of all of these things that matter here upon my list/You are my number one, yes you are my number one.”)

In the bridge, Harwell reassures his girlfriend he will stand by her when she’s scared. Roger has some more pointless interjections. (“You are my number one (say so)/Trying to make it clear (good gosh)/Trying to let you know/When you’re afraid/I’m gonna be there.”)

Ranking Roger has an unintelligeble rap section. Roughly translated, it means “I spent all my money from the 80s. I was the cheapest person Smash Mouth could hire and I landed on this mediocre single. Please look for English Beat’s only record on Amazon and buy it. Promise? This gig isn’t paying anything.”

The chorus ends the single.

The morose topic of death combined with an inapporiate blissful instrumentation dooms the single at the start. Harwell comes across a smothering, condescending man talking to his girlfriend. It seems as though he’s speaking to a child, not a signficant other. Ranking Roger is useless and irrelevant.

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