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Mastodon’s Brent Hinds on Santana’s ‘Smooth’: ‘Like Someone Taking a Carrot Peeler and Gouging It into Your Ears’

Brent Hinds
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

If you were asked to name your all-time least favorite song, you might have to think about it for awhile. But for Mastodon‘s Brent Hinds, the answer is clear and simple: Santana‘s ‘Smooth.’

Hinds is hardly alone in that sentiment — for plenty of people who survived the chart-busting omnipresence of Santana’s collaboration with Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty, just hearing a few seconds of ‘Smooth’ is enough to provoke involuntary convulsions — but he proved thoroughly eloquent on the topic when asked to justify his choice for the A.V. Club‘s Hatesong series. “The thing I hate about this song is that it got way too much attention for sucking that bad,” Hinds maintained. “It’s just like someone taking a carrot peeler and gouging it into your ears and skinning your ears. It’s just — ech! Just talking about it I’m cringing.”

Pointing out that he “loved Santana” and adding, “I can’t believe Santana went and got down with Rob Matchbox. It’s so confusing on so many different levels for me,” Hinds reflected on the overwhelming success of ‘Smooth’ by pointing out, “That’s another thing I hated about it. I hated the accolades it got. It just really never seemed to stop getting under my skin. Everywhere I turned, there was that song, and anywhere I went, there was the song. It was just always playing.”

Hinds went on to discuss Thomas’ contribution specifically, saying the Matchbox singer has “one of those voices that’s like, ‘Ech,’” and admitting that as much as he hates the song, he still hasn’t been able to purge it from his brain. “It’s like Maroon 5, and I was going to say Maroon 5’s ‘Moves Like Jagger,’” he explained. “I was really on the fence. Which song do I hate the most? But I went with ‘Smooth’ because I find myself whistling ‘Moves Like Jagger’ with no remorse. I’m happy about it, you know? But when I find myself humming any part of ‘Smooth’ I’m like, ‘Oh, I gotta tone that down. I’m in public.’”

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