the first album i ever bought: the new radicals – maybe you’ve been brainwashed too

j roddy walston & the business @ kings

The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here.

I remember my nervous walk into Record Town like my first drink. A dedicated viewer of MTV’s Total Request Live, I’d been watching the video for “You Only Get What You Give” follow “Hit Me Baby One More Time” for weeks, hearing it when my radio clicked on to wake me up in the morning, and pleading with my parents to leave it on when it played in the car (even though it had the word “asses” in it!!). Armed with my first ever discman, I was ready to take the slightly whiny tenor of frontman Gregg Alexander home with me. That album held all the promises of adolescence. Sex, profanity, drugs (which I never did, but enjoyed the illicit thrill of hearing them sung about), and angst. As I was drawn to the anti-establishment, pop-culture-critiquing attitude of the New Radicals, I had no idea that one of my future favorite ballads was waiting to be discovered as well.

Whatever happened to Amelia Earhart?
Who holds the stars up in the sky?
Is true love just once in a lifetime?
Did the captain of the Titanic cry?

Someday we’ll know if love can move a mountain
Someday we’ll know why the sky is blue
Someday we’ll know why I wasn’t meant for you

“Someday” was everything to my always-infatuated, never-requited thirteen-year-old self. It asked and then answered all the questions a hormonal teen needed to hear. The chords pulled at your heartstrings and the unexpected softer side of Gregg Alexander was utterly disarming. I didn’t outgrow it until my first real relationship, heading into college. I think the CD was still in my collection when I passed the giant zippered vinyl binder on to my brother after we arrived in the era of the MP3. When I hear the strains of “Someday” while walking through a mall or dial-surfing on a roadtrip, I get a lump in my throat.

Miranda K. Pennington intermittently blogs at MKP and NYC, and is currently an MFA student and University Writing teacher in New York.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I had a CD single of “You Get What You Give”. Probably still do. Anything that name-checks Courtney Love is fine with me.

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