Winchester Revival’s new single Feelin’ Myself is an unapologetic, delightfully retro slice of the aughts with no contemporary fixations nor overtly slick diversions. The only indication the single wasn’t sidelining the likes of 2000s cult groups like Phantom Planet, Third Eye Blind, Death Cab for Cutie, and R.E.M. is its polished sound design, serving to enhance the raw, acoustic sounds of the guitar, bass, and rock-and-roll drum kit servicing the listener’s ears. (It’s particularly recommended that you listen to this with the best kind of headphones you have, ideally always Beats by Dre in a perfect world).
The vocals are raspy but musical, clearly the band isn’t interested in the singer showcasing the strengths of the other aspects of the song – something commonly found in other groups Winchester Revival takes their cue from. Everything here clearly has a two-fold purpose, to stand out on its own while simultaneously adding to the collective musical experience of the single. It’s a nice change from the typical mutual exclusivity one often hears these days in the latest and greatest Top 40s hits, often slanted in the direction of showcasing the singer versus the band or the totality of the track on its own merits.
The aughts was a simpler time, albeit one many including myself remember as having the excitement that comes from advancements in technology. It was an era defined by 80s-style artistic and cultural values (the idea you could start a band in your own living room, and through trial and error make it to the Billboard 200), but without the other shoe dropping in terms of censorship or limitations on expression the Reagan era was equally infamous for. It was the era of the post-Y2K panic, the early years seeming to showcase triumph over adversity before earth-shattering contrasts of the likes of September eleventh or the 2008 financial crisis splashed themselves across the front of the daily papers.
There was a certain kind of unpredictability and shape-shifting that overtook the aughts, in many ways making one feel culturally three steps would be taken forward, but sometimes – hopefully in the best of ways – two steps would be taken back. This was shown through the diverse array of commercial releases – music and otherwise – that graced the period. On the one hand, you had the kind of semi-dated, caustic and almost dissonant nature of 90s-origin hits like Len’s Sunshine gracing the radio waves, contrasting with the more modern sound of a Bare Naked Ladies song. Auto-tune was just beginning to make its decidedly inorganic entrance, stars just beginning to realize fame was about being an event more than being a person. That in-between place has been hard, if not impossible to replicate, ever since.
In short, it’s a nice change to hear something that feels like it authentically could represent and even fit in to what I would consider the golden era of modernized, popular music. It’s very much a nice thing for a millennial born a few years after the Generation Kill era to see the zoomers haven’t yet completely dismantled the ways of their now-elders.
by Bethany Page