Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too
First Appeared at The Music Box, July 2000, Volume 7, #7
Written by John Metzger
Despite the illusion of the New Radicals being a band, the group is really the brainchild of singer/songwriter/producer Gregg Alexander. On his sole release Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too, the Detroit, Michigan native explores the ’70s and ’80s rock, funk, and soul sounds to which he grew up listening. Toss in a psychedelic twist and a knack for writing infectious pop melodies, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what the New Radicals are all about.
For the most part, the New Radicals display their influences quite liberally throughout Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too. Alexander’s vocals come across as a mix between Bono, Mick Jagger, and World Party’s Karl Wallinger, while the instrumentation also throws in a splash of Hall & Oates, Hothouse Flowers, and Prince. Nevertheless, the New Radicals have turned in quite a promising debut that is varied enough in style to keep things interesting.
Not everything works on Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too: Someday We’ll Know never truly takes flight and oddly enough, the title track drones on over its hollow drum beat. However, there’s far more here into which you can sink your teeth and to which you can repeatedly return without losing interest. On songs like I Hope I Just Didn’t Give Away the Ending and I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore, Alexander and company deliver soulful, soaring anthems that achieve transcendence through emotional release. Likewise, the pot-stoked Flowers and the serpentine single You Get What You Give blend swirling Technicolor rhythms with irresistible melodies. Further, Alexander’s lyrics harken back to ’60s era tunes of love, loss, and socio-political commentary with the requisite dabble into psychedelic references.
The result is a set of charming epiphanies that merge four decades of music into a cohesive package. Unfortunately, it now appears that Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too will be the New Radicals’ only release. Fearing they might be a one-hit wonder, Alexander disbanded the ensemble and turned his attention to production — at least for the time being. Anyone with an ego the size of Alexander’s — at least he has the skill to back it up — certainly can’t stay away from writing and performing forever. At least, we can only hope that’s the case. ½
Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2000 The Music Box