I didn't want to like the New Radicals' hook-heavy, pop-soul debut, "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too." It's full of shameless piano-plonking, vocal mugging (frequent outbursts of "Woo! Yeah!") and arena-sized enthusiasm. This album was dancing into dangerously cheesy territory, and I wanted no part of it. New "Radicals"? Radical conservatism, maybe.
I wish I could say that what converted me were the subversive lyrics like "We did a porno film for coke/ I hear I'm big in Japan," but by the time I unearthed that gem in the middle of the big, smoky ballad "I Hope I Didn't Just Give Away the Ending," I was already singing along with Radicals main man Gregg Alexander. From the fuel-injected first track, "Mother We Just Can't Get Enough," "Brainwashed" is irresistible. And Alexander's uncannily Jaggerish snarl dusts the songs with just enough rock grit and sexiness to make this album safe for cynics.