Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pretty sure I should get my ass kicked by Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson

# 23 New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too

I'm hesitant to admit this in a quasi-public forum, to say nothing of including it in my Top 25, but I like the only release from New Radicals. There, I said it.

Gregg Alexander is the musical equivalent of former Yankee Kevin Maas. Subbing for Don Mattingly in 1990, Kevin Maas had 16 home runs by the end of August in only 167 at-bats (an insane average for the uninitiated). I view New Radicals similarly, because they (he) had a couple of singable tunes during a particularly meaningful season of life; however, this in no way meant I wanted a sophomore effort. Just at Mattingly's career was overall superior to Maas' brief outburst, my life was no different in a post-New Radicals world than it was prior to discovering Alexander's contrived angst, suburbanized prophecy, or ridiculous grievances against musicians who had hit the Billboard jackpot.

New Radicals' "You Get What You Give" owned the airwaves in college, but now has been assigned the coveted status of background music for NBC's Sunday Night Football highlight package. This little ditty ends with a diss-lite of Courtney Love, Manson, Beck, and Hanson. (Smart move on Alexander's part by not calling out the Wu Tang Clan. By the way, the Wu once beat a journalist unconscious, who had recently slammed their album. The Wu ended the beatdown with calling out "Wu Tang Clan ain't nuthin to f%^k wit." Just for the record, I say if you beat another person and punctuate it with your own catchphrase, you are a bad mamma-jamma, and certainly not someone to f%^k wit.) Alexander clearly read "The Art of War" before recording "Brainwashed" and knew which enemies he could and could not handle.

Back to my sentimental attachment to "Brainwashed": After I broke up with a college girlfriend (and then attempted, unsuccessfully, to reconcile with her), I needed to something to drag me further down into the abyss. Enter New Radicals. Gregg's middle class croonings about his hard-knock life as a non-conformist spoke to me. This guy knew love and loss of biblical proportions, as "Someday We'll Know" brilliantly posits "Someday we'll know why Samson loved Delilah/One day I'll go dancing on the moon/Someday you'll know that I was the one for you."

According to my college roommate I listened to this song EVERY morning for a month followed by the equally depressing "Crying (Like A Church on Monday)," which offers the chorus:

And I'm crying like a church on Monday
Praying for these feelings to go away
So do me a favor baby
Put down your new god
And love me like Sunday again

Wow. I can't believe I just typed that.

When I picture Gregg Alexander laying down tracks, the only thing that comes to mind is John C. Reilly in Boogie Nights encouraging a rocking n' rolling Dirk Diggler. "Hell yeah! That will show those music industry pricks! Take that Hanson!" I still laugh. I still listen. Where have you gone Kevin Maas?


Sean B said...

It's true though, those unrelentingly egotistical pricks in Hanson were in need of a good verbal glove slap.

ATrain said...

ah, the enduring utility of the breakup album. Does this mean we'll see Ben Lee's first record show up on Big Cougar's list?
"Man, I just want you to hear this song..."

Big Cougar said...

JP: The pull of the New Radicals is a hard one to fight - so maudlin, yet so appealing. And with such great for getting back with girlfriends: you only get what you give. now that's a scintillating thought.

Train: re:Ben Lee - "Man, that record's so depressing, I can't even list it."

Lucky Strikes said...

This is by far the best post yet. Mad props for weaving Maas into the storyline...

jphillip said...

I knew the Salvador League would appreciate ANY Kevin Maas reference. I'll see if I can't work Brian Hunter into the mix at a later post.