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February 16, 2015 10:15 AM   Subscribe

But perhaps most intolerable to him was the insistence by the industry itself — "the big businesses that run these corporations and multinationals that own the record companies and all of the conduits through which artists get their music out there" — that he and other artists "whore out" themselves in order to continue to make art. An example? "Things like doing station P.A.s, you know, where you have to go, 'You're hangin' with The Party Pig!' [The Party Pig was the mascot for the LA area's now-defunct KQLZ 100.3 AM.] You know? 'This is Gregg from The New Radicals and you're hangin' with The Party Pig!'

Indirectly via the sirens' song for Oscar, a rundown of the Oscar nominations in the music categories.
posted by smcg (54 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Counterpoint: 'You Get What You Give' was a terrible song.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:27 AM on February 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


Counterpoint: 'You Get What You Give' was a terrible song.

Get thee behind me, Satan.
posted by josher71 at 10:39 AM on February 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


Here I stand. I can do no other.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:45 AM on February 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Everyone has to do it. I bet Lemmy could hang with the Party Pig. and I bet he has done so.
posted by thelonius at 10:46 AM on February 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Lemmy made a delicious pork roast from the Party Pig.
posted by Etrigan at 10:50 AM on February 16, 2015


[The Party Pig was the mascot for the LA area's now-defunct KQLZ 100.3 AM.]

90s LA radio pedant: KQLZ was FM, not AM, and there is no fucking way that anyone from the New fucking Radicals would have been asked to do a promo for them, even if the two had existed at the same time.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:53 AM on February 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Once you get past the surface obnoxiousness of You Get What You Give it is actually one of the greatest songs of the late 1990s.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:54 AM on February 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


I mean it took me like 8 years but one day I just fucking loved it.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:56 AM on February 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


It's no "All Star" by Smash Mouth, though.
posted by koeselitz at 10:57 AM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hrm. Listening to "You Get What You Give," it does have a certain allure. I think it's probably a bit less sappy or slickly produced than people might remember. Not bad for the sort of pop that was happening in the shambles of the late 90s.
posted by koeselitz at 11:05 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


That whole album was pretty good and I remember liking them alone for just not really being into having to perform it at whatever cockamamie self-congratulatory event MTV has the amazing ability to conjure up.
posted by Kitteh at 11:05 AM on February 16, 2015


It's no "All Star" by Smash Mouth, though.


The lead guy from Smashmouth has had a really rough break, and he's done some good afterwards, And thier songs were OK for what they were.
posted by jonmc at 11:07 AM on February 16, 2015


"Murder on the Dancefloor" is one of my favorite pop guilty pleasures.
posted by Kitteh at 11:08 AM on February 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


So true:
In a pop song, I was going after health insurance companies and corruption — 'Health insurance rip off lying'; the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, and the hypocrisy of the war on drugs, which was not real; 'big bankers' and Wall Street. To allude to all that stuff in a pop song was, in retrospect, a naively crazy proposition." Immediately after that political riff in his song, he inserted, "almost as a joke," lyrics knocking Courtney Love and other pop-cultural figures of the time. "But to put them next to each other, and then to notice that everybody focused on the so-called "celebrity-bashing" lyric instead of this lyric that was talking about the powers-that-be that are holding everybody down—" He trails off. "That was something that I was kind of disillusioned by."

posted by mannequito at 11:09 AM on February 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


My main problem with "You Get What You Give" is the video. Harassing people who work at the mall is not a revolutionary act. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite.


Other than that, it's a pretty unremarkable piece of late-'90s pop.


Also, that was a stupid hat
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:11 AM on February 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


I had a friend years ago who went on and on about how New Radicals were the best thing ever, and he got me to listen to that album a bit. It's not my thing, even now; seems like it doesn't exactly go anywhere, even if I respect it for what it is and see that some guy worked hard on it.

jonmc: “The lead guy from Smashmouth has had a really rough break, and he's done some good afterwards, And thier songs were OK for what they were.”

I think their songs are sublime for what they are. Neil Cicierega taught me that.
posted by koeselitz at 11:12 AM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too" is a fantastic album that is half sincere send-up to the kind of pop/rock it's modeled after and half satire of same, and corporate culture generally. Gregg Alexander worked as a producer for a number of years before writing/recording the album, the ups and downs of which fueled the concept.

He's sporadically produced a few other things that you can find in likely corners, but I'm not sure if any of them have ever been commercially released.

Anyway, rule of thumb: the first comment in a MetaFilter music thread is always wrong.
posted by byanyothername at 11:16 AM on February 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


He's sporadically produced a few other things that you can find in likely corners, but I'm not sure if any of them have ever been commercially released.

He wrote "Game of Love" for Michelle Branch and Santana, as well as all the music for Begin Again (last year's Knightley-Ruffalo musical).
posted by Iridic at 11:22 AM on February 16, 2015


Corporate Pop and Rock at it's worst. I remember hating that tune at the time and hating the twat in the hat. The one glorious Sunday morning they were due to appear on a crappy C4 show my girlfriend was watching but split up right outside the studio. That was the last i heard of them until Ronan Keating released that Rollercoaster tune and you could hear that behatted fools fingerprints all over it. Yuk.

His sooking up to U2 just confirms my suspicions.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 11:26 AM on February 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I just saw a party pig in that video...around 1:40. Maybe it was a party pug.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:28 AM on February 16, 2015


Counterpoint: 'You Get What You Give' was a terrible song.

actually, it was brilliant. Good groove. Big production. Smart writing. And it called out Beck. Best POP single of 1998 ... or very close to it.
posted by philip-random at 11:29 AM on February 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


So, either it was terrible or brilliant.

Why I am reminded of The Great Debate?
posted by Chrysostom at 11:35 AM on February 16, 2015


That song is awful. Everyone, please, it's awful. This needs to be a musical maxim everyone agrees on.

Please?

Pretty Please?
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:41 AM on February 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


i had never heard that song. now that i have, i won't remember ever hearing that song. so it's quite possible that i have heard that song before and simply don't remember. or something.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 11:45 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like it but only a little.
posted by VTX at 11:46 AM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


[Folks, there's a whole interview with the guy that isn't about the song, maybe we can have a more interesting discussion than 'song is bad' vs 'song is good'?]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:49 AM on February 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


"I was going after health insurance companies and corruption! I was a New Radical! It was too much for the sheeple to handle and blew their minds, bruh, like whatever, I just got burned out on the hustle."

Courtney Love has more moxie in her little finger than this schnook. More radicalism, too.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 11:55 AM on February 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


it's rehashed 70's piano pop - it's not awful, but it's not especially good, either - and this talk about how he turned his back on the music business while just happening to have written several hit songs and gotten a grammy is absurd - no, he figured out that there's more money in being a songwriter than a star and a lot less effort and drama
posted by pyramid termite at 11:56 AM on February 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I always found this bit interesting (taken from an earlier version of the album's Wikipedia page):

"Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too", the album's title track, is the subject of much controversy and discussion. There is a complete discrepancy between the lyrics printed in the album booklet and that sung on the actual recording. The lyrics in the booklet contain an absolute tyrade against corporate Western society, covering everything from corrupt health insurance and credit card interest rates to racism in professional sports and genetic engineering of food. Meanwhile, the actual song is a dark, strange piece with seemingly unintelligible lyrics that may have been competely ad-libbed. Some of these have been interpreted as "I come pickin' my fight, back just around you, yeah/I come, don't matter why, yeah... You're set for doing my new dance/The baboon, the baboon, the baboon, yeah". The printed lyrics end with the line "So cynical, so hip, so full of shit,/ they told us to shut the fuck up and write another hit", which led fans to believe that the original track was cut from the album due to disapproval from executives at MCA Records, so Alexander cynically knocked up a weird, highly uncommercial piece to replace it. Some also believe that backmasking has been used to hide messages in the track.
posted by jbickers at 12:09 PM on February 16, 2015


I don't really like this song that much, but it's been nagging me since the first time I ever heard it that the singer sounds absolutely identical to someone else that I can't place.

The first time I heard it I actually thought it WAS someone else and I felt like it was a singer I had been exposed to quite a bit. I was thinking maybe some kind of 70s widescreen pop musician like Elton John or Todd Rundgren or someone, but it's obviously not those guys. I am old enough to have actually listened to some 70s and lots of 80s pop in realtime, so my points of reference could be just about anywhere.

This dude sounds exactly like someone else to me and it hurts my soul to not have an answer.
posted by SharkParty at 12:19 PM on February 16, 2015


When I read "the Party Pig," I didn't expect a mascot but rather one half of the local morning radio team.
posted by delfin at 12:19 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


i loved this album when i was in high school, even though i couldn't ignore the fact that despite some real gems, it had some real clunkers on it.

i wasn't mature enough to recognize it then but it seems like the self-sabotaging slacker rock that with a little bit of discipline, could be absolute gold. it always seemed weird how some of it was grabbed by the pop machine, because it seemed pretty clear to me that despite the chipper melodies there was something deeply unconventional about this music - structurally, thematically, and in the instrumentation and vocalization of the songs. gregg alexander really did have an ability to send three or four genres crashing together and have a unique pop song emerge.
posted by entropone at 12:26 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't really like this song that much, but it's been nagging me since the first time I ever heard it that the singer sounds absolutely identical to someone else that I can't place.

My initial impression was that it was a World Party song, except way more fun than a typical World Party song.
posted by philip-random at 12:31 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Todd Rundgren is who you're thinking of, Shark Party.
posted by litlnemo at 12:38 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whoa World Party is a really good guess! I'm tempted to say MYSTERY SOLVED but I just can't let go that easily.
posted by SharkParty at 12:40 PM on February 16, 2015


or maybe it's just the 70s piano thing that makes me think Rundgren, though I think it's the voice too.
posted by litlnemo at 12:45 PM on February 16, 2015


It's no "All Star" by Smash Mouth, though.

It's no 'Tubthumping' by Chumbawumba, either, but it's a solid example of a kind of period US Britpop, imo. The lyrics are singable twaddle, it has a nice groove, and a swelly chorus. What's not to like?

Wasn't 'You Get What You Give' used as bumper music for a Fox TV show? Party Of Five I want to say, but I'm not sure. That's what I always associate it with, anyway.

maybe we can have a more interesting discussion than 'song is bad' vs 'song is good'?

The song's interesting. Alexander's career path is interesting—I had no idea he was responsible for 'Murder On The Dancefloor,' a song I like even more than 'You Get What You Give.' The most remarkable thing about the Reporter piece is how many clichés about the "music biz" the author managed to jam into a thousand words or so.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:50 PM on February 16, 2015


jbickers: which led fans to believe that the original track was cut from the album due to disapproval from executives at MCA Records
Yeah, that's gotta be it. The Man couldn't handle the message, so he suppressed it!

Idiots. The Man will let you personally doxx him, his wife, his ex-wives, his mistresses, and that one kid whose name he can usually recall if it increases MCA's bottom line.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:50 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


The levels of BS and self-importance in this article are astonishingly high. He had one pop hit 20 years ago, but he has experienced "the highest highs, and the lowest lows"; he "wasn't feeling like an artist anymore"...
He supposedly "snuck into see purple rain" "literally snuck into the grammys and saw all my heroes"--maybe he imagined doing this.
BS and megalomania; one pop hit does not make for significance.
posted by librosegretti at 12:51 PM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'mma let you finish but "Walking on the Sun" was the greatest Smashmouth single of all time
posted by I-baLL at 1:02 PM on February 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


A friend has a take on this song that I think nails it...

"It's not just that it's catchy, it's that there's a bunch of moving parts. Like, were I chained to a guitar 12 hours a day for the next thirty years, I could theoretically write "Judy is a Punk". That's not an endorsement nor a slight, just a fact. But "You Get What You Give" is like "Come On Eileen" or something. Even if you're not a fan, you have to admit that it's goddamn sturdy."
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:33 PM on February 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


SharkParty, my wife has always sworn that this dude's voice reminds her of Mick Jagger. I don't hear it myself, but she says she always thinks it's him when this band comes on.
posted by jbickers at 1:39 PM on February 16, 2015


I think I am actually satisfied that it was World Party! The tidal wave of relief hasn't fully set in yet though.

I never really thought to look in that direction... I was so hung up on it being a 70s musician, but this all makes sense and it's definitely a song I've heard millions of times. They even have a similar sonic quality of a big windswept chorus where you can barely place what instruments are happening in the background. THANK YOU, PHILIP-RANDOM.
posted by SharkParty at 1:48 PM on February 16, 2015


World Party, "Ship of Fools" is pretty great.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:50 PM on February 16, 2015


If it's World Party, then most likely people heard Way Down Now, off of Goodbye Jumbo, which I have always liked quite a bit.
posted by dglynn at 2:13 PM on February 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Idiots. The Man will let you personally doxx him, his wife, his ex-wives, his mistresses, and that one kid whose name he can usually recall if it increases MCA's bottom line.

Good song, though.
posted by twirlip at 3:42 PM on February 16, 2015


"New Radicals". AH ha ha! Cuz pop is SO rad.
posted by Twang at 4:43 PM on February 16, 2015


It reminded me at the time of Mike Scott of the Waterboys, but listening to both of them again now that seems a stretch. It may just be that trilling hoot at the end of the chorus.
posted by absqua at 6:44 PM on February 16, 2015


World Party being ex-Waterboy Carl Wallinger's band.

Also, World Party.
posted by philip-random at 7:02 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can I just say, I wish I could go to the beach every day and write songs, and bum around Europe for nine years having all manner of fun, and then complain about having to do a voice spot for a radio station? It's hard to read this and have too much sympathy for the guy. I loved th album when it came out, still listen to it occasionally, but feel pretty let down that he never followed it up with anything else. Even the best job in the world has some down days and some parts you just don't like to do.
posted by newdaddy at 7:55 PM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Indeed, newdaddy. My employer insists I "whore myself out" by attending meetings and working during business hours - AND I HAVE TO WEAR PANTS!

As if that had anything to do with the quality of my engineering work. They are suppressing my mathematic abilities.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:42 AM on February 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


it called out Beck

And Hanson, too. He put those boys in their place.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 6:52 AM on February 17, 2015


now-defunct KQLZ 100.3 AM

Yeah, if you're at 100.3 on the AM dial, you're gonna go defunct sooner rather than later.
posted by malocchio at 8:03 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


And yeah, I kind of like that song, despite it being way outside of my normal groove...it reminds me a lot of I Saw the Light.
posted by malocchio at 8:13 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


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