On paper, New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give” isn’t drastically different than many of the other one-hit wonders of the late ’90s. The tune is airy-sounding and uplifting in a general way, courtesy of frontman Gregg Alexander’s soaring falsetto. Musically, it’s vaguely alternative-sounding, between the electric guitar corkscrews and optimistic piano chords popping out of the mix here and there, although it possesses enough of an accessible pop sheen to explain why it scraped the bottom of the Top 40. (The song was co-written by Rick Nowels, who went on to co-write huge hits for Dido, Madonna, and Lana Del Rey, and features contributions from Rusty Anderson, a former member of Ednaswap who’s now Paul McCartney’s guitarist.) The bridge contains a spoken-word section that Alexander often transformed into a near-rap live, in a nod to the era’s growing conflation of hip-hop and rock, while the vocalist’s forceful, half-spoken, half-sung delivery on the chorus made it easy (and fun) to sing along to.
I tell the same story to every person I meet. I like to gage the reaction. Is this how Coldplay feels when they play “Clocks” at every concert? Or the guys who play 8675309, Jenny, how exhausting do you think it is to have to perform the same act every night? I pull my liquor out of the freezer. What does it feel like to know people only love one thing you have ever done? I am pathetic. I am in love with you still and I think you have only done one good thing to me like write that, Jenny, so am I complacent for only loving one perfect thing that you did instead of demanding you try harder, that you do more? When I give up does it mean I was never really there to begin with? I have never been a fan of anything.