The New Radicals were a successful American alternative rock band from 1997 to 1999. The group mainly centred around Gregg Alexander who was the frontman and wrote and produced all the band’s tracks. However, it was Alexander and keyboardist and percussionist Danielle Briseboise who were the only permanent members of the band during their short but active career.
“You Get What You Give” was written by Gregg Alexander and American songwriter Rick Nowels. From their 1998 album “Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too”, the track received an extremely mixed reaction from the public, particularly the last verse of the song where Alexander calls out society and the government for “rip-off lying”, and calls out celebrities for being fake, such as Marilyn Manson. Manson was not happy, and commented saying he was “not mad he said he’s kick my ass, I just don’t want to be used in the same sentence as Courtney Love… I’ll crack [Alexander’s] skull open if I see him.” But according to Alexander, he had written this verse as a test to see whether the media would focus on his celebrity dissing, or the more pressing issues such as the first line of the last verse where it focuses on societal issues. As Alexander predicted, the media chose to focus on the name dropping and slating and ignore the core message of the track.
The music video was released in 1998, and directed by Evan Bernard. It features Greg Alexander leading a group of teenagers, causing chaos in a American shopping mall, such as destroying products, putting business men in cages and throwing nets on security guards. The video was filmed in Staten Island in New York, and Alexander chose the mall setting as he stated that he saw the mall as a metaphor for society, “a fake controlled environment engineered to encourage spending.” The music video was uploaded to the band’s YouTube channel in October 2009, and has over 60 million views.
Release Date: 10th November 1998
Songwriter/s: Gregg Alexander, Rick Nowels
Producer/s: Gregg Alexander
Label: MCA Records
Music Video Release Date: 1998
Music Video Director: Evan Bernard
Chart Rankings & Accolades: Hit #1 in Canada and New Zealand in the year of its release. Also made it to the charts in the UK, US, Brazil, Australia, Spain, Sweden and more. BBC Radio ranked it as #38 on its lost of “Most Heard Recordings in Britain of the Last 75 Years”, as well as VH1 placing it as #64 on it’s list of “100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders”, and #11 on it’s “40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the ’90s”. Rolling Stone magazine also ranked it as #37 on their “50 Best Songs of the Nineties” list.