This post is a warning to those who can’t possibly heed it. Because, frankly, when I was in your shoes, some years ago, I would have ignored me, too. Nonetheless, because I’m your Generation X, father, I will give it a go. I was idly watching the clip of the New Radicals ‘You Get What You Give’ recently. I realised that despite this song being used in ads and played on radio continuously for the last 12 years I had only seen the music video twice. I recalled the second time I saw it, how much I hated it the first time.

Why so, Mr Triv, why are you hating on the poor little one-hit wonder complaint rock band of the late 1990s? Well, it’s late and I am easily annoyed at this hour, but also because the video takes what is dormant in the song and allows it to flower in its full, literalist glory. I refer to the annoying, hipster smugness that is well hidden beneath this song’s melodic pop exterior. If only they’d been less damned obvious and used our friends, implication and suggestion, then The New Radicals classic piece of pop could have had a good or at least not distractingly crap, video.

“But how,” I hear you say, “could this possibly be relevant to me?” Well, if you have ever idly considered making a “We’re young and you old farts out there just don’t understand our world, politics, music, hair and sexting” music-video – then me and my buddies, the rapidy ageing New Radicals are here to advise against it. Because this is the kind of hare-brained thinking that led to their silly video.

Have you seen it yet? The hip kids TAKE OVER THE MALL! The adults, the corporate straights, the suits, the well-groomed, coiffed, old, hopeless, jaded, cynical, blood-sucking Baby Boomer capitalist criminals are OWNED by cool, beautiful, natural, unspoilt, innocent YOUTH. Or in other words, some pissed off Gen Xers fuck over their parents. Revolutionary stuff. As themes go, Innocent Youth Is Better Than Jaded Age has a use by date similar to an open tin of salmon in the fridge.

According to the Wikipedia, the brains behind the New Radicals was a fella called Gregg Alexander who was 26 at the time. He is 38, now people. That’s two years away from 40! I wonder if he ever looks at this and reflects on what a smug git he was? (Why would he need to, when I, his blogger nemesis on the other side of the planet, have insomnia to burn on this subject?)

Sure, YOUR music video is actually a cross-platform, trans-media construction of audio content that can be remixed and mashed-up by a billion users. There is no definitive version and any visual story content is an interactive matrix of choices and actions that can be edited into any order by the punters on their iPhone 4.

You’re too up to date to even worry about such Old School linear, analog nonsense. All I’m saying is this – if you happen to have a great idea for a music video revealing the hypocrisy of my tribe, the prematurely elderly Generation Xers, then in the wink of a young girl’s eye it will seem as quaint and old fashioned as the reference I just made to the Bruce Springsteen’s song Glory Days Or indeed Briuce Springsteen himself. We used to refer to him as The Boss. He’s our Robbie Williams, okay?

And, my young friends, there are so many other over-used video themes you can employ. Working in an Office is Soul Destroying. It is the Future and the Authorities have Outlawed All Music. Or my all time favourite – Actor/Musician is chased by a mysterious hooded figure who reveals itself in the last seconds of the video to be the Doppelganger of the Actor/Musician! ZOMG!

Here’s to you, future oldies.

Mr Trivia

8 thoughts on “Whippersnapper

  1. i think the reason people make shit like this is, everyone wants an easy answer to the ennui and existential angst of modern life. In this case, all you have to do is throw a net over some corporate snidely whiplash and put him in a cage. if only it was that easy.

    the reason this song prob gets used in so many ads is because ads tap into that as well- buy x object, and you will suddenly find freedom and become a unique individual.

  2. Hm, yeah. Mr Triv is, sadly, right(ish) again – if feeling a little grumpy today!?. Like me perhaps. When I was 15 I was going to be Steven Spielberg. I was better than him. I wanted to kill him because I was so jealous over ET. But after reading the screenplay, I see just what an uninspired idiot he really is. These days watching any Dreamworks Production makes me feel sick on Melissa Matheson’s behalf (Google her. I’m not here to wipe your nappy).

    Embrace change and don’t burn your bridges, Gen-Yers. You’ll need to cross them in order to get back home one day. You won’t be welcome if you set ’em on fire. And sadly, Mummy & Daddy won’t be forking out for your rent, food, credit card and electricity next time round.

    It’s now your turn to get accidentally pregnant and raise an even more self-entitled generation. The Gen-Z will rape the last green blade from this Earth and turn it into a Kobo while wearing an enviro suit (and I’m a Kobo lover).

    For now, get drunk, trash a hotel room and send your data bill to Mum & Dad. They love you unconditionally – even if you don’t really give a shit back.

    That video seems to be promoting anarchy by the way. It’s been proven that the human population under anarchic rule will be approximately … 12. Like chimps.

  3. I couldn’t watch to the end. So… horrible badly dressed rude teens scare off their infinitely better dressed, inoffensive elders? And this is a good thing?

    I am 23 in year and around 43 in views, I sometimes think. And I can’t watch that video without thinking that no young person today- none! would be able to do the things portrayed in that music video.


    They have made such a god out of individulity that they are unable to work together to do anything, whether it be ring someone in with scooters, drop nets off balconies or create anything good.

    For the record, I live my life as a survival a la zombie invasion. Find several uninfected, and then hide out until the storm blows over in, oh, I don’t know, 20-60 years from now? I’ll see you when they become weak enough for me to take down with a chef’s knife, and we can re-build a society.

  4. Aaww come on, Im in my late fifties, I remember steam radion, life before TV, before transistor radios…(Need translation?) before (Oh No) Computers and Mobile phones..and the SICKEST thing is old farts like me prancing about on stage “entertaining” . Youth should be arrogant, unthinking, callous> I retired as a muso cos I DIDN’T want to look like those sad old farts reforming bands that should be left moribund. Eeeeeew. I think the under twenties now are smart, kind, tribal and well, pretty cool. The eighties lot of course were snotty little f$%$# heads..and should all have been drowned at puberty.
    Just to prove , Phil, that grumpiness after 8pm ( A reasonable bedtime I feel) is your sign of ageing. Love your work.

  5. early flash mob with violence? This is why teenage boys are dangerous – look at their little evil faces *brrrr* I do like the song though – don’t know why 🙂

  6. Hahaha. This is great because I always disliked this video even as a younger chap. I just felt sorry for the harried woman behind the ice cream counter fending off the teenage revolutionaries. That and the lead singer in contrast to Kurt Cobain, Henry Rollins, Marilyn Manson or any other Gen-X rocker, comes off as pretty ineffectual: his eyes can’t even connect to the camera convincingly!

  7. In a second note, I couldn’t stop thinking of a footnote of Terry Pratchett’s, from his novel Reaper Man. It remarks on an undead support group singing “We Shall Overcome”, among other revolutionary songs. It says about the song:

    “A song which, in various languages, is common on every known world in the multiverse. It is always sung by the same people, viz., the people who, when they grow up, will be the people who the next generation sing “We Shall Overcome’ at.” -Terry Pratchett, “Reaper Man”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.