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Guilty Album | New Radicals: Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too

“Make my nipples hard, let’s go!”

I have no clue which back-up singer said this to Gregg Alexander while recording his only studio release Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too (1999), but it completely sets the tone for the entire record. I bought this CD at a K-Mart knockoff store in my hometown merely because of the one-hit wonder “You Get What You Give”. And make no mistake, I firmly expected it to be a $15 single. I had no idea the riches that lay within. The opening track “Mother We Just Can’t Get Enough” still remains my favorite cut off the album actually. But front-to-back, this album brings piano-pop goodness that you can’t help but smile while listening.

If you’ve ever read the crazy story of how Gregg got this unlikely album made, it’s well worth the read.

What I especially love about the album is after the sickeningly sweet opening tunes, the album takes a much darker and interesting tone with the underrated “I Hope I Didn’t Just Give Away the Ending” which opens with a sort of slow vignette of vocals, drums and piano that reaches a fever pitch. The song is masterful storytelling, and ends tragically with a cup of coffee accidentally laden with coke (I won’t give away the ending!).

Other standout tracks include the somewhat psychedelic title track “Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too”, or “In Need of a Miracle” (“Been All Around this Bad, Bad World/ Tryin’ to find some Tenderness”) and “Gotta Stay High”.

Really, this album is perfection. It’s not for everyone, but I think that’s why I consider it a guilty pleasure. It’s too poppy for the Bro crowd, but all the same you know they’re toe-tapping when “You Get What You Give” comes on the radio. And it will make sense when you realize Gregg lives on by co-writing a pop hit for Michelle Branch or a few tunes for the underrated film “Begin Again” by John Carney, the Director of “Once”.

 

 

Further Reading: AV Club – New Radicals’ only hit “You Get What You Give” was secretly influential

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Guilty Album | Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1

Star-Lord’s Sony Walkman. Total nostalgia trip. When the opening bass thumps of “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone starts busting through those orange foam pads, or the “Ooga Chaka” chant of Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling”, you instantly know the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 is going to be the real deal.

“Guardians of the Galaxy”‘s soundtrack was a pop cultural phenomenon that essentially caught traction with lots of folks not only for the nostalgia factor, but certainly for the guilty pleasure quality of the selections. Director James Gunn and his team made sure to carefully craft a 70’s era mixtape that anyone would be proud to receive from their newfound love (or their *cough* dying mother).

While a few tracks are truly rock ‘n’ roll, soul or disco classics. A majority of them are just pure sweet guilt. Nestled within David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” and “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways is the effervescently positive “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum. Or the friggin’ brilliant storytelling of “Pina Colada Song”. Or “O-o-h Child” by The Five Stairsteps, which is basically a smile wrapped up in a song.

This phenomenal soundtrack re-introduced these tracks to me in the perfect way, while I was geeking out in a movie theater to the adventures of Groot, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Drax and Star-Lord.

Needless to say, it’s a must listen. And an overall good slice of songs that this blog was built for. Check it out!


YouTube Playlist


Spotify Album


 

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