Follow TV Tropes


Music / New Radicals

Go To

New Radicals were an American pop-rock band from The '90s. The band was founded and fronted by multi-instrumentalist Gregg Alexander, who wrote and produced all their songs. The only other official or permanent member of the band was All in the Family actress Danielle Brisebois, who provided percussion, keyboards and backing vocals. The band's other members were mostly session musicians that Alexander hired song by song, and the lineup constantly shifted during their short career.

They released one album, Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too, in 1998. A pop-rock album drawing influences from various rock and Funk/Soul acts like Todd Rundgren, Prince and The Rolling Stones, Brainwashed was greeted with critical acclaim. It also provided the band with their only hit single, "You Get What You Give". It's one of those one hit wonders that you are guaranteed to hear on the radio all of the time to this very day.


Alexander disbanded the group in mid-1999 out of fatigue with touring and the rock star life, declaring that he had "accomplished all of [his] goals". This greatly affected the performance of second single "Someday We'll Know", which got some airplay (and versions from Mandy Moore and Jon Foreman; along with Hall & Oates) but not enough for the band to be considered a two hit wonder. He returned to his previous job of writing and producing for other musicians. He later won a Grammy for writing Santana and Michelle Branch's "Game of Love."

After 15 years intentionally shying away from stardom, Gregg Alexander finally granted his first interview since his stint with the New Radicals in October of 2014. He also continues to collaborate with Brisebois, who has remained his musical and songwriting partner; The duo wrote the music for Begin Again, earning themselves an Oscar nomination in 2015.



  • Arc Words: "Two years ago" is mentioned consistently in the songs about breakups. The number 97 pops up every now and then due to the band being formed in that year.
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Someday We'll Know," a song about The Lost Lenore is a Downer Ending, but the lyrics in the album booklet add an addendum, showing the narrator coming to terms with the relationship ending.
  • Black Comedy/Lyrical Dissonance: "I Hope I Didn't Just Give Away The Ending," a bright, spirited power ballad about doing porno films for coke and overdosing.
    • Breaking the Fourth Wall: A particular gem from the same song:
      "By the way this girl was sexy and she would touch you
      That may not be true, but I said it so you'd feel involved with the song!"
  • Break-Up Song: "Someday We'll Know".
  • Cut Song: "A Love Like That." Some lyrics appear on the band's only album, but the song was only released online years later.
    • The two B Sides "To Think I Thought" and "The Decency League", though "To Think I Thought" is on the Japanese version of the album.
    • There are a whole load of these actually. Alexander was recording demos from 1995 to 1998, when the album was made. Some of them have leaked online, some of which were given to other artists, and some of which weren't.
    • Quite possibly, the original version of "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too," if the original/alternate lyrics in the album booklet are to go by.
  • Drugs Are Bad: "I Hope I Didn't Just Give Away The Ending"
  • I Am the Band: Half of the sources out there refer to the band as consisting of Gregg Alexander alone. The other half consider them to be the duo of Alexander and Danielle Brisebois backed by a series of studio collaborators, a la Steely Dan.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Most of the songs feature energetic, sunshine-y guitar and melodies, even when they're talking about social change, inability to cope with a break-up, or accidental overdoses that result in death. That said, "You Get What You Give," even with it's lyrics about mind-numbing celebrity culture distracting from real-world issues, is otherwise a straightforward Award-Bait Song, complete with lyrics about The Power of Friendship.
  • Nice Hat: Alexander. He admitted that he always wore one to partially hide his complete lack of enthusiasm during live performances.
  • The '90s
  • Not Christian Rock: They come close in "Jehovah Made This Whole Joint For You" and "Flowers" ("As real as our god, who has spoken, on how we can fly"), which both seem like attempts to convert a drug addicted girl to christianity. It's safe to say Gregg was not serious about it - he was brought up a Jehovah's witness and hated it.
  • Ode to Youth: "You Get What You Give"
  • One-Man Band: Gregg played all the parts on "Technicolor Lover" by himself.
  • One Work Author: Only released one album, Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Gregg had his moments (such as the 'won't you save me' part of I Don't Wanna Die Anymore, and the verses of Crying Like A Church On Monday.
  • Scannable Man: Several pictures on the album art have a barcode on Alexander.
  • Take That!: Alexander included two verses towards the end of "You Get What You Give", one criticising the FDA, health insurance providers and others, and the other just bashing various celebrities. By his own admission, it was an experiment to see if the media would focus on the celebrity-bashing more than the political issues of the first lines. He was right.
    • "The Decency League" is one against Moral Guardians.
    • The lyrics in the liner notes for the title track "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too" are completely different than the actual song on the album. The booklet lyrics, which are all a giant Take That! at society, end with "So hip, so young, so full of shit. The studio told us to shut up and write another hit." The song itself never had those lyrics, it is gibberish - this was a parody of censorship.

Social Security Number, please. Credit card number, please. Money, please. Money, please. Money, please. Soul, please. Please deposit 85 dollars for the next three minutes, please.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: