In recent memory, I hadn’t watched a movie in a theatre that wasn’t animated. When I heard that Adam Levine was starring in a movie called Begin Again, I didn’t even consider seeing it before it was released to DVD. I’m a Maroon 5 fan but I figured this wasn’t an Academy Award winning film. That is, until I discovered through Danielle Brisebois’ Twitter account that she and Gregg Alexander co-wrote most of the OST (original soundtrack). Danielle Brisebois, (who you may know from “All in the Family” if you are old enough to remember who Archie Bunker is), and Gregg Alexander were part of the 90’s band New Radicals (“You Only Get What You Give”).
While I have not been in prison or living in the past, I still have the “Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too” CD next to my stereo as if it were 1999. It’s in the pile along with Friction, Baby by Better than Ezra, but I digress. Gregg Alexander disbanded the New Radicals at the height of their success, citing the boredom of the industry and the need to wear a hat when performing to disguise it. After he seemingly vanished from the music scene, he continued to write and produce top hits for other artists. Some of my favourite pop tunes that he’s written include Santana/Michelle Branch’s “The Game of Love” and Ronan Keating’s “Lovin’ Each Day”. I actually have an ear for his production sound. It’s classic pop perfection.
My husband and I took the day off work with the sole purpose of me seeing this movie in the theatre without the kids. We got a bargain by being early birds because Landmark Cinemas offers a discount for movies shown before noon. It only cost $8 a ticket.
The movie started off with a song and seeing the credits show “Music by Gregg Alexander” got me pretty excited. The plot line really drew me in and I adore Mark Ruffalo’s acting. The character Greta, played by Keira Knightley, seemed like a female version of Gregg Alexander. Greta is a songwriter concerned about maintaining her authenticity. Even the part about finding random musicians to play and record all over New York City struck a chord with me. In the liner notes of Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too: “This album was recorded all over the place”.
Of course I had to buy the Begin Again soundtrack CD after seeing the movie. Gregg Alexander co-wrote and produced the whole album and sings on the Cessyl Orchestra tracks. It is freaking awesome. (Funny story: I casually asked the young girl at the store if she knew who the New Radicals were. She said yes, because her mother was a fan. Oh, yikes…)
Maintaining my earlier prediction, I highly doubt that the Begin Again actors will win any Academy Awards. However, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Gregg, Danielle, her husband Nick Lashley and Nick Southwood accept the Best Original Song Oscar for “Lost Stars”. Hopefully, Gregg won’t be wearing his bucket hat.