The English singer-songwriter Nash revealed to Drowned In Sound that this song's lyrics were inspired by the occupation of Iraq: "With 'Mouthwash' I read this play called Guardians about a female soldier that was pictured torturing Iraqis. There's a monologue from her and the one thing she says she couldn't get out of her head was these women buy toothpaste, like they're in a totally different world but they're the same as her. When you strip away everything from someone you have the same basic needs like brushing your teeth so this was saying don't judge me... it's a bit of a protest song really."
"What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes has endured as one of the most popular songs of the '90s, but it wasn't a huge hit at the time and the band split after one album. Frontwoman Linda Perry went on to write hits for Pink and Christina Aguilera.