Feel It Still is the second single from Portugal. The Man’s 2017 album, Woodstock. Equally accessible and left-of-center, the song has gone on to become the most successful of the band’s career.
While Portugal. The Man is first and foremost a rock band with a rock following, this song found success with fans across a diverse range of genres and multiple generations. Its wide, crossover appeal is due in part to its array of influences as well as its lyrical, instrumental and vocal qualities.
So what aspects of the song connected with these different audiences?
Feel It Still’s edgy, raw production, tinges of psychedelia and use of live-played electric guitar and bass make the song appealing to Portugal. The Man’s core rock and alternative audiences.
Its accessible structure and infectious dance-laden groove enabled it to crossover into Mainstream Top 40 and dance/club formats.
Additionally, its infectious groove coupled with Gourley’s falsetto vocal (a la Curtis Mayfield), use of a horn section and the Marelettes Please Mr. Postman inspired chorus vocal melody connected with rhythmic audiences.
Feel It Still also possesses cross-generational appeal, which widens its reach. Lyrically, it’s primed to connect with today’s young demographic looking to affect change for a better future. It also connects with their parents who want to ensure a better future for their children, and the “1986” Beastie Boys’ “kick it” reference bolsters the connection with this same generation. However, it doesn’t stop there. The reference to the “1966” counter-culture revolution also makes the song appealing to their parents’ parents.
The song’s combination of retro and modern production qualities also has a cross-generational appeal, as does its array of influences, which include the Marvelettes 1961 Please Mr. Postman inspired chorus vocal melody and its fusion of alt/rock, blues, dance, psychedelic, R&B/soul and retro-1960s influences.
To date, Feel It Still has landed in the Top 10 on over 20 charts throughout the world, cracked the Billboard Hot 100 Top 5, crossed over into the US Rhythmic and Dance/Club Song Charts, and hit at #1 on four Billboard charts including the Adult Top 40, Alternative Songs, Hot Rock Songs and Mainstream Top 40 charts.
About the Hit Song Deconstructed Report:
Our flagship report, it provides an unparalleled deep dive into the inner-workings of a current chart-topping hit, and leaves no stone unturned. Presented in a practical manner through a combination of charts, graphs, notation and commentary, the reader comes away with a full understanding of the what, how and why behind how the hit was written and produced, and gains a wealth of songwriting and production techniques to add to their toolbox. Among the many areas covered are song structure, energy, genres and influences, instruments and accompaniment, harmony, vocal production and melody, lyrics, rhymes, narrative, Top 10 benchmarking and more.
Readers can study the entire report, or hone in on one particular area of interest, such as vocal melody, across multiple reports.