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Archive for October 28th, 2010

Reissue Theory: New Radicals, “Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on well-known albums of the past and the reissues they could someday see. A wave of ’90s nostalgia leads this column to look back at one of the best one-hit wonders of the latter part of the decade.

The presence of The New Radicals on that NOW ’90s compilation brought some memories flooding back. Remember the first time you heard “You Get What You Give”? It was insanely poppy, it sounded kind of like a U2 outtake from an era U2 hadn’t even publicly gotten to yet (theĀ All That You Can’t Leave Behind era) and, to quote Chuck Klosterman in SPIN magazine, it was “an almost flawless Todd Rundgren-like masterwork that makes any right-thinking American want to run through a Wal-Mart semi-naked.” (All this from an article where he claimed New Radicals were the second most accurately rated band in pop history.)

All of these are right, but of course there was so much more to the group – or at least its founder, Gregg Alexander – than meets the eye. We remember the silly hats Alexander wore, the smirky baiting of Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson and the other pop luminaries of the day. But there’s so much more to remember.

Gregg Alexander was a shockingly competent songwriter from the get-go. His first album, 1989’s Michigan Rain, was recorded when he was only 17, taken from a batch of his own tunes produced by Rick Nowels (producer of Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth”). Follow-up album Intoxifornication (1992), released on Epic after being dropped by A&M, took five tracks from the previous album and another set of good but not great tunes.

In the mid-’90s he began work on the New Radicals project, known for lacking any permanent members other than Alexander himself. (A notable semi-exception was the co-writing and percussion talents of Danielle Brisebois (who, insanely enough, was a former child actor best known for playing Archie Bunker’s insufferably cute niece at the tal end of All in the Family and later Archie Bunker’s Place. She had worked with Alexander on Intoxifornication and recorded an album of her own with some input from him as well.) The Radicals were crack session musicians, including Nowels, percussionist Lenny Castro, keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, drummer Josh Freese and guitarist Rusty Anderson. Amid heavy promotion (and considerable controversy from those celeb-baiting lyrics), lead single “You Get What You Give” was a huge hit, and the album Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too went on to sell a million copies.

But all was not rosy. Alexander soon felt the strain of being a semi-star, namely the “hanging and schmoozing” aspect of the business, and after the release of second single “Someday We’ll Know” disbanded the outfit to go back to songwriting and producing. Both he and Brisebois still write notable tunes; he won a Grammy for Santana and Michelle Branch’s “The Game of Love” in 2003 and she penned “Unwritten” and “Pocketful of Sunshine” for British pop star Natasha Bedingfield.

And the New Radicals discography is remembered fondly by fans of ’70s pop and ’90s alt-rock; “Someday We’ll Know” was covered by Daryl Hall and John Oates in 2003 and was performed by Mandy Moore the year before for her film A Walk to Remember, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel. (The film adaptation changed the setting of the book from the ’50s to 1998, and included another New Radicals track, “Mother We Just Can’t Get Enough,” on its soundtrack.)

Perhaps someday, a reissue would be in order for this in-need-of-rediscovery pop triumph. After the jump, take a look at what it might look like. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

October 28, 2010 at 16:00

A Heatwave in November

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This week has been unseasonably warm around The Second Disc HQ, and while that’s not particularly fun, there is news of some heat of another kind – particularly, expanded reissues of the Heatwave catalogue coming your way from Cherry Red next month.

The immortal disco band, which had a string of classic dance/soul cuts in the late ’70s from the pen of member Rod Temperton (who also of course wrote some instant classics for Michael Jackson in the Off the Wall and Thriller days), will see no less than three sets coming out from Cherry Red’s Big Break and 7Ts imprints. Big Break has reissues of the band’s Hot Property (1979) and Candles (1980) LPs, each remastered and expanded with four and nine bonus B-sides and remixes, respectively. Meanwhile, 7Ts will release a two-disc compilation, The G.T.O. Singles Collection, which will feature all their greatest U.K. hits in their original 45 versions.

Between these sets and reissues overseen by Big Break and Demon earlier this year, we can gladly report that the Heatwave catalogue has now been fully remastered and expanded for the 21st century. The expansions of Hot Property and Candles will be released November 8, while The G.T.O. Singles Collection streets a week later on November 15.

Check out the track listings for all these releases after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 28, 2010 at 14:35

Reissue! Repackage! Repackage! Volume #2: Shinedown Double Their “Madness”

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Another relatively recent reissue coming down the pipeline: alt-metal band Shinedown will reissue their most recent album, 2008’s The Sound of Madness, in a new CD/DVD package that’s actually quite heavy on bonus material.

The album, which spawned several rock hits including the surprise crossover single “Second Chance,” a Top 10 hit in the winter of 2009, will be expanded with nine bonus cuts and a DVD of music videos and live performances. The bonus tracks come from a variety of sources, including some digital singles, a previous bonus track edition released to iTunes and the band’s fan club, and a few soundtrack tunes.

If you’re a fan or are really, really curious, it’s a rather large amount of material to reward yourself (including the one-year fan club membership that comes with the set). Certainly not the kind of skimpy holiday reissues many of us are used to. It arrives in stores on November 23, and the track list is after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

October 28, 2010 at 11:40

Now That’s What I Call Aging

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It’s the most inevitable irony: the people behind NOW That’s What I Call Music! have finally compiled a set devoted to the 1990s – the very decade U.S. buyers started getting their own versions of the long-running pop compilation series.

The first NOW volume hit stores in England in 1983, but it didn’t catch on until 1998 in the States. Three dozen standard volumes later (NOW 36 is due November 9), the latest special title in the series is NOW That’s What I Call the 1990s, to be released the same day. Do note that the set is subtitled “An Alternative Pop Collection,” so this isn’t going to be full of teen pop tunes. (If you want such a set, you can get the U.K. NOW That’s What I Call the ’90s, released last year – or the what’s-your-hurry set NOW That’s What I Call the ’00s, released in England back in February.)

Check out the track list for the compilation after the jump (no Amazon link exists just yet), and do try hard not to cringe at the passage of time between the original release of these songs and this set.

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 28, 2010 at 10:10

Posted in Compilations, News