Rediscovered track of the month: Mar ’16
Gregg Alexander, Lost stars
If you spent any time in the nineties near a TV screen you couldn’t fail to hear Mr Alexander’s joyous pop blaring down at you. His band New radicals’ “You Only Get What You Give” was one of the decade’s great summer hits and I remember watching it go out live on late night British TV one night (was it The Word? or TFI Friday?) — a rare live appearance by Gregg. The album on which you find that track is packed full of great song-writing and the future looked bright . . . but Mr. Alexander had other plans, he eschewed the limelight and little was heard from him over the years although his song-writing continued apace, most notably in this beaut sung by Ronan Keating, in it you can really hear the Alexander trademark hooks and signatures marbled throughout the track and it’s no disrespect to the former Boyzone singer to say that the world needs to hear Gregg himself come and do the vocals on his own song. But I’ve never read a really convincing explanation of why Gregg laid low for so long. Each interview I’ve seen or read concentrates on his desire to write and collaborate rather than perform . . . this may well be true and if so Gregg’s desire for a more ‘normal’ life is the world’s loss, for by now he could easily have been an elder statesman of pop playing the Superbowl with the likes of Timberlake, Coldplay et al. It is therefore a wonderful pleasure to discover this video — a year late I admit — lurking in the shadows of Youtube. With a only 75K views — shockingly low even by the standards of Youtube obscurity — it’s yet more evidence that not only does he want nothing to do with the whole fame-media complex but he also has little regard for the vagaries of social media celebrity. This is laudable, but this video must be heard by a wider audience. The track was written for a 2013 Keira Knightley film “Begin Again” which from what I can make of the plot seems to have parallels with Gregg’s own life and an autobiographical taint which he perhaps found too much to resist and therefore — thankfully for us — he accepted the soundtrack gig. This stunning performance speaks for itself and shows us all that that age-old adage in football — form is temporary, class is forever — holds just as true for songwriters.