Sunday, 20 March 2011

28: New Radicals, “You Get What You Give” (no.5, 1999)

Before we all start wailing and gnashing our teeth about the low placement: yes, it’s a great song. A feelgood classic. An anthem for a generation, if we must. But before we rush to canonise blinking Moby-alike writer-performer Gregg Alexander as one of pop’s great professors - an individual who, with his revolving coterie of jobbing-muso technicians, here finally hit upon the right formula for moment-defining pop - consider the following counter-evidence.

Alexander disbanded the New Radicals shortly after this sole UK chart hit, citing tiredness with the group’s touring and promotional duties, only to then take up a second career as a songwriter-for-hire. As well as penning the only Texas song to sound remotely exciting (for 27 seconds, before it reveals itself to be a Texas song), the not-so-New Radical then went on to write (God help us) Ronan Keating’s “Life is a Rollercoaster”. From “You Get What You Give”’s climactic flurry of threats (“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”) to Ronan’s impossibly weedy “You really got me going tonight/You almost got us punched in a fight” seems a precipitous decline: just whose side was Alexander on, exactly?

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