by Lindsey May
“Music is the most immediate medium mankind has. We need to use it for something useful instead of just making money” says Gregg Alexander. And thus the ideology behind the band the New Radicals, was formed.
Based in Los Angeles, the band held a ‘revolving door policy’ with twenty non-permanent members involved in producing the New Radical’s music. The band centers on front-man Alexander, the only ever-present member, also responsible for the writing and producing of all songs.
Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too, an alternative album released on November 17, 1998, is the one-album wonder of the band. The genre of the album is upbeat pop-rock, musically influenced by funk and soul. Lyrically, it has been categorized as complaint rock, because of Alexander’s outspoken criticism of society. Songs on the album combine love and politics with a carefree, positive attitude, unreflecting of the ’90s unsettled political scene of the time.
The album has 12 tracks and has been met with mixed reviews. Although many songs deal with pressing issues and constant references to drugs (such as songs, Gotta Stay High and Flowers), it’s masked by its feel-good catchy music, upbeat-tunes and melodies that tend to stick in ones head for a good few hours. Alexander?s voice, easy on the ear, deals with issues from religion to revolutions, from love to hate.
Get What You Give was the first single released and was met with much acclaim, reaching #5 on the UK singles chart. Lyrically controversial, Alexander said he wrote the words as an experiment to see whether the media would focus on the celebrity name dropping (Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson, Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson. You’re all fakes run to your mansions, come around we’ll kick your ass in), or the deeper social issues raised (Health insurance rip off lying, FDA big bankers buying. Fake computer crashes dining. Cloning while they’re multiplying).
The other single that could have been highly successful, but Alexander disbanded the group before its official release tired of touring and promotional interviews, is Someday We’ll Know . Soulful, it restores a hope in forgotten love. It’s harmonious and melodious, and removes the listener from surrounding negativity.
As with many albums “Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too” has songs that one enjoys and that one skips past. The album is quality as the lyrics are great, the beat catchy and the undercurrent themes deep.