On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
New Radicals – You Get What You Give (1998)
” You Get What You Give” is a 1998 song by American alternative rock band New Radicals. It was the first and most successful single from their only studio album, Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too (1998). Released in November 1998, it reached number 36 on the US Hot 100 and number eight on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.
We’re leaving France behind, dear reader, and making our way to the US and to Los Angeles in California. Formed in 1997 by Gregg Alexander, New Radicals delved into the world of alternative rock and started their career with a bang. We join them in 1998 with the release of their debut album, Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the group’s first single – You Get What You Give.
You Get What You Give has various themes running through it. The main message seems to follow the title in beseeching the individual to go out and make of life what they will. Only by putting into life will you get something back in return is the song’s mantra. The uplifting chorus sings of having music on our side and even within us, a faithful friend to support us on our journey of fulfilment. The song also rails against the ills of society that threaten to derail the dreams of youth and famously name checks Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson in a dig at celebrities for being fakes.
New Radicals made a big splash with You Get What You Give with the likes of Joni Mitchell and U2 praising the song’s quality. A Top 10 hit in the UK and Top 40 in the US, You Get What You Give remains a stunning achievement to this day and it is hard not to smile when you hear this on the radio. Sadly, the music business and celebrity world did not agree with Gregg Alexander and he disbanded New Radicals in 1999 before their second single had even been released. Instead, he focused on writing songs for other artists. More than 20 years later, New Radicals reunited to perform at the inauguration of President Joe Biden. Whether this was a one-off or not remains to be seen.
Favourite songs so far: