NEW RADICALS: Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too (MCA)

One of the coolest things about reviewing CDs is that you get to hear a lot of new music. Some of it's good; some of it's not. A lot of the time (and this is unfortunate for new artists), things just get buried in the stacks, never to be seen or heard again. But every so often, a new band will come out that really makes a lasting impression. The first band to jump out of the stack at me this year is New Radicals.

New Radicals is the brainchild of Gregg Alexander. He's got just enough attitude to get your attention, yet never comes across as being obnoxious. The first thing I noticed when I heard this CD was a strong Todd Rundgren influence. The songs also have the pop sensibility and blue-eyed soulful sound of Daryl Hall and John Oates--but with more of a rock 'edge' to them.

"Mother We Just Can't Get Enough" gets the CD off to a great start with a mid-80s, rocking R&B groove that won't let up. The Rundgren influence is in full force on the first single, the infectious "You Get What You Give." The song's got a great melody, a killer hook and has 'hit' written all over it. If you haven't heard this song by now, you're obviously living under a rock.

The other songs on the CD run the gamut from pop ballads to rock to R&B, sometimes a combination of all three. But there's something in all of them that catch your attention--whether it's the lyrics or the music itself. When you review CDs for a living, it's not often that one stays in your CD player for any length of time. It's just the nature of the business. New Radicals is the exception.

© 1999 Steve Marshall