You Get What You Give

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"You Get What You Give"
New Radicals YGWYG Single.jpg
Single by New Radicals
from the album Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too
B-side "To Think I Thought"
Released November 10, 1998
Format CD single, 12" single
Recorded 1997-98
Length 5:00
Label MCA Records
Writer(s) Gregg Alexander, Rick Nowels
Producer(s) Gregg Alexander
New Radicals singles chronology
"You Get What You Give"
"Someday We'll Know"

"You Get What You Give" is a 1998 song by the New Radicals. It was an international hit, the first and most successful single from their album Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too. It reached number 30 on Billboard Hot 100 Airplay in January 1999, number 36 on the overall Hot 100 and number eight on the Billboard Modern Rock chart.[1] It reached number five in the United Kingdom and number one in Canada and New Zealand.[2]


Much of the media attention "You Get What You Give" received centered on the closing lyrics:

"Health insurance, rip-off lying
FDA, big bankers buying
Fake computer crashes dining
Cloning while they're multiplying
Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson,
Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson
You're all fakes, run to your mansions
Come around, we'll kick your ass in."

According to Alexander, he had written this section for the song as a test: to see whether the media would focus on the important political issues of the first few lines, or the petty celebrity-dissing. As suspected, a considerable amount of press began to appear about the name-dropping, and the other political issues were largely ignored.[3]

Marilyn Manson commented that he was "not mad he said he'd kick my ass, I just don't want to be used in the same sentence as Courtney Love.... I'll crack his [Alexander's] skull open if I see him."[4] Beck reported that Alexander personally apologized for the line when they met each other by chance in a supermarket, claiming that it was never meant to be personal.[5] Alexander collaborated with Hanson, whose drummer, Zac Hanson, called him "a bit of a character, but a cool guy."[6]

Although the lines were used for the band's Top of the Pops appearance, it was truncated at "kick you".[7]

Critical reception[edit]

In a Time Magazine interview, U2 lead guitarist The Edge is quoted saying "You Get What You Give" is the song he is "most jealous of. I really would love to have written that."[8] Billboard gave a mixed review, saying that it was a "chugging, Wham!-style pop song with slightly cheesy lyrics" but that the ending lyrics were "interesting".[9]

The song was listed No. 440 on Blender's list of The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born.[10]

The song is an unofficial Newcastle United anthem and is regularly played at their home ground St James' Park. The song was used by local radio station Metro Radio during Newcastle's FA cup-run of 1998–99, with Mick Lowes' commentary of Newcastle's cup goals mixed over the song.

In the liner notes to her 2004 compilation Artist's Choice, Joni Mitchell praises "You Get What You Give" for "rising from the swamp of 'McMusic' like a flower of hope."[11] Michelle Branch, Lulu, The Okay Feeling, and Martin Fry have covered this song live in concert. It was also performed by the Final 13 of Australian Idol 2005 & 2006. Both times the controversial "Health insurance..." section was omitted.

LMC released a remix of this song sampling the original Alexander vocals as "LMC vs. New Radicals" in 2005, under the title "Don't Let Go". Another remix entitled "You Get What You Give" was released in 2006, this time with a re-recorded vocal performance by Rachel McFarlane. "You Get What You Give" charted at No. 30 in the United Kingdom.

In 2006, Ice-T was asked on Late Night with Conan O'Brien about what he has heard, besides rap music, of late in the last few years that really grabbed him and his only reply was "You Get What You Give."

Music video[edit]

The music video for "You Get What You Give" was filmed in the Staten Island Mall, New York and directed by Evan Bernard. New Radicals' front man Gregg Alexander said he chose this setting because he sees the shopping mall as a metaphor for society—a fake, controlled environment engineered to encourage spending. The video showed a group of teenagers led by Alexander, going through the mall wreaking havoc—tossing nets on security guards, placing businessmen in animal cages, knocking over merchandise, hijacking Lambrettas, and moshing in the foodcourt.[12]


VH1 voted it as the 64th greatest one-hit wonder in 2002. In 2007, the song was voted No. 90 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 90s",[13] and in 2010 it was number 106 on Pitchfork Media's Top 200 Tracks of the 90s.[14] In 2011, VH1 ranked it as 11th on "40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 90s". Annie Zaleski for The A.V. Club wrote that the song was "surprisingly influential on popular music, just in a non-obvious, almost obscured way", and that it was "both a nostalgic artifact and a song that transcends any era".[15]


Publication Accolade Rank
1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die *
VH1 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders 64[16]
VH1 40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 90’s 11[17]
Blender 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born 440[18]
Pitchfork Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s 106[19]


  • * denotes that the list was not ranked

In popular culture[edit]

The song has been featured in the films The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Surf's Up, and Click. It also has been featured in trailers for the films Big Daddy, The Muppets and Bubble Boy. It was the theme for an advertising campaign for Mitsubishi Motors,[20] and has been used in promotional spots for PBS. Movistar used the song in the Latin American media in its advertising campaigns as a jingle. The song was featured in one episode of MTV animated series Daria as well as an episode of JAG. It has also been featured in an episode of the NBC television series Community, titled Advanced Documentary Filmmaking. Featured in the official promo for Fuller House season 2 on Netflix. Also featured in Lucifer season 2.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "You Get What You Give" (Edit) – 4:42
  2. "To Think I Thought" – 2:47
  3. "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too" – 5:21
  4. "You Get What You Give" (Album) – 5:02 (Not on some copies)


Live versions[edit]

Two live recordings of "You Get What You Give" were officially released:

  • "You Get What You Give" (Live at WXPN's World Cafe) on Live at the World Cafe – Volume 8 (1999)
  • "You Get What You Give" (Live at KBCO, September 13, 1998) on KBCO Studio C – Volume 11 (1999)

Also there are three MP3's circulating:

Other versions[edit]

  • "You Get What You Give" performed by Vassy (featured on Grey's Anatomy: Season 10 Episode 22 “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” ) (2014)
  • "You Get What You Give" performed by The Maine featuring Brennan Smiley on Covers Side A

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1998–1999) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[21] 13
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[22] 33
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[23] 42
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[24] 36
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[25] 1
France (SNEP)[26] 57
Germany (Official German Charts)[27] 21
Ireland (IRMA)[28] 4
Italy (FIMI)[29] 10
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[30] 19
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[31] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[32] 15
Poland (LP3)[33] 31
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[34] 6
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[35] 27
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[36] 18
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[37] 5
U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs[38] 8
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[38] 36
U.S. Billboard Pop Songs[38] 14
U.S. Billboard Adult Pop Songs[38] 11

Release history[edit]

Country Release date
United States November 10, 1998
United Kingdom March 22, 1999


  1. ^ – Artist Chart History – The New Radicals
  2. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 68, No. 15, February 01 1999". RPM. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  3. ^ "New Radicals Song Misunderstood, Singer Says". MTV. Retrieved April 24, 2013. 
  4. ^ "New Radicals Discuss Slighting Marilyn Manson And Courtney Love, Manson Responds". MTV. Archived from the original on May 23, 2006. Retrieved August 6, 2005. 
  5. ^ "No turning Beck". The Sunday Times. July 10, 2005. Archived from the original on August 9, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ Fuoco, Christina (July 19, 2004). "liveDaily Interview: Zac Hanson of Hanson". Live Daily News. Retrieved December 30, 2005. 
  7. ^ "One-Hit Wonders at the BBC". 17 April 2015. BBC Four.  Missing or empty |series= (help)
  8. ^ 10 Questions for The Edge, Time Magazine, September 25, 2006
  9. ^ "'You Get What You Give' review". Billboard: 25. September 19, 1998. 
  10. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born: 401–450". Blender. Archived from the original on October 19, 2006. Retrieved November 23, 2006. 
  11. ^ "PopMatters Short Takes: Brief Reviews of New Music". February 28, 2005. Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  12. ^ Gregg Alexander & Rick Nowels. "You Get What You Give". Music Video. MCA Records. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  13. ^ "100 Greatest Songs of the '90s". December 13, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Pitchfork Top 200 Tracks of the 90s". August 31, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  15. ^ Annie Zaleski (2015-07-28). "New Radicals' only hit, "You Get What You Give," was secretly influential". The A.V. Club. 
  16. ^ "VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  17. ^ "VH1's 40 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the '90s". Top One Hit Wonders. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  18. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born: 401-450". Wayback Machine. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  19. ^ Dombal, Ryan. "The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 150-101". Pitchfork. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  20. ^ Mitsubishi ad featuring "You Get What You Give" on YouTube
  21. ^ " – New Radicals – You Get What You Give". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  22. ^ " – New Radicals – You Get What You Give" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  23. ^ " – New Radicals – You Get What You Give" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  24. ^ " – New Radicals – You Get What You Give" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  25. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 68, No. 15, February 01 1999". Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  26. ^ " – New Radicals – You Get What You Give" (in French). Les classement single.
  27. ^ " – New Radicals Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  28. ^ "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: N". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – New Radicals search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  31. ^ " – New Radicals – You Get What You Give". Top 40 Singles.
  32. ^ " – New Radicals – You Get What You Give". VG-lista.
  33. ^ "Lista Przebojów Trójki - Polskie Radio Online". Polskie Radio. Retrieved March 19, 2016. 
  34. ^ " – New Radicals – You Get What You Give" Canciones Top 50.
  35. ^ " – New Radicals – You Get What You Give". Singles Top 100.
  36. ^ " – New Radicals – You Get What You Give". Swiss Singles Chart.
  37. ^ Steffen Hung. "International Chart history". Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  38. ^ a b c d – Artist Chart History – The New Radicals

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"...Baby One More Time"
by Britney Spears
RIANZ (New Zealand)
number one single

March 7, 1999
Succeeded by
"My Side of Town"
by Lutricia McNeal