Thunder/Feel It Still

Thunder feel it still tits.jpg

Date Aired
November 14, 2017
Running Time
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Todd plays "Thunder" and then "Feel It Still" on the piano.

A pop song(s) review

Todd: Hey, everyone. My name's Todd, and my soul belongs [holds up his hand in the horns sign] to rock 'n' roll. Yes, even nowadays, I feel it still.

Clip of Smashing Pumpkins - "Zero"

Billy Corgan: Wanna go for a ride

Todd (VO): Now like I said, the first music I got into when I became old enough to make my own decisions was good old alternative rock.

Todd: Not so much nowadays.

Video for Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna - "This Is What You Came For"

Todd (VO): Now I listen to mostly Top 40 because, rock music is about six hundred times less relevant.

Todd: But it still tends to pop up into the mainstream here and there.

Clip of Of Monsters and Men performing "Little Talks"

Ragnar Þórhallsson: Don't listen to a word I say

Todd (VO): [image of...] I call it the Fluke Indie Hit Sweepstakes. About once or twice a year, we get a big hit from an indie-sounding band, and [cuts back to same image with words "Limit One Hit Per Band'] typically you never hear from them again (Unless You're Twenty One Pilots).

Montage of clips from Bastille performance of "Bad Blood"; video for Walk the Moon - "One Foot"; X Ambassadors performance of "Unsteady"

Todd (VO): I-I mean I guess Bastille's still hanging in there trying for that second big hit. I'm still rooting for you, Walk the Moon. But, it never seems to last any longer than a blip. And because there are so few of them, and because of my rock 'n roller past, I've noticed you guys just assume I'll immediately lap up whatever rock band wins the sweepstakes, just 'cause they play actual instruments with their actual physical hands.

Todd: Come on, guys! I'm not that easy. [pause] Okay, I kinda am.

Clip of Neon Trees - "Animal"

Todd (VO): I mean I put Neon Trees in my top ten list one year. But to prove that I'm not a complete...

Todd: ...slave to the genre, why don't we look at two vaguely indie-ish rock bands in the Top 40 right now?

Clip of Imagine Dragons - "Thunder"

Chipmunk vocal: Thu-thu-thunder, thunder

Dan Reynolds: Thunder

Feel the thunder

Todd (VO): Now the two songs are, "Thunder" by Imagine Dragons, a band we've talked about before...[clip of Portugal. The Man - "Feel It Still"] and "Feel It Still" by Portugal. The Man, a band who are new to the Top 40 and, have the worst band name in history.

Todd: Can't decide whether your indie band should have [image of Indie Band Name Cliches checklist] ironic punctuation or a "the" in the middle its name? Why not both?

Clip of Portugal. The Man - "Feel It Still"

John Gourley: Ooh woo

I'm a rebel just for kicks, now

Todd (VO): Now, despite being in the same genre making similar-ish music, these two bands have taken entirely different paths up to this point.

Live performance of Imagine Dragons - "Demons"

Dan: When you feel my...

Todd (VO): Imagine Dragons were a hit instantly, and were performing at the Grammys within a year of their first album. [cover for Portugal. The Man] Meanwhile, Portugal. [arrow pointing at period with Full Stop] The Man was the indiest of indie bands; one of those acts who were cool people in the know, but no one ever expected to break through. The fact that I'm talking about them at all...

Todd: shocking to me because one, they were underground for years; and two, I was into them before they were big.

Trumpet fanfare and caption: 10,000 Hipster Points. Achievement unlocked: Into Band Before They Were Big

Todd: [fist pumps the air] Aww, man, that never happens. I'm gonna go take a victory lap.

Todd gets up and leaves. He then goes outside and jogs on the sidewalk while the Rocky theme plays.

Todd: Now, what about the songs themselves?

Clip of "Feel It Still"

John: Might've had your fill

But you feel it still

Todd (VO): Well, let me tell you. Unlike the bleak depression pop that seems to have taken over the Top 40, these two songs are, you know, upbeat. Or at the very least [clip of "Thunder"], uplifting, triumphant. And to hear songs like that on the radio, I mean, that makes me feel just absolutely...

Todd: ...OK. [shrugs] They're OK.

Video for "Feel It Still"

Todd (VO): Now, "Feel It Still" is obviously the better of the two.

John: Ooh woo

I'm a rebel just for kicks, yeah

Your love is an abyss for my heart to eclipse, now

Todd (VO): Kinda light a nice dance groove to it. Which is, [chuckles] it's a new one coming from this band.

Todd: I can only assume this means...

Clip of live Father John Misty performance

Todd (VO): ...Father John Misty has a trap song he's been waiting to release. [back to "Feel It Still" video] But yeah, this song...ehh I don't know. It's alright. But...

Todd: I don't know. [stammers] There's something that just doesn't quite do it for me.

Todd (VO): I-I can't say I really feel it...still.

Todd: I mean, part of it is how it's trying to evoke the past.

Todd (VO): I mean it's explicitly trying to bring back the '60s.

John: Ooh, I'm a rebel just for kicks, now

I've been feelin' it since 1966, now

Todd (VO): The name of the album is [album cover for...] Woodstock. And it's got like a '60s groove with the horns, and they-they sing about being a rebel and so on.

Snippet of beat with saxophone solo

Todd: On the surface, yeah, it totally sounds like an updated dance song from the '60s. But, it's like the fun '60s.

Montage of clips from Wilson Pickett - "Land of 1000 Dances"; Nancy Sinatra - "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"; Adam West as Batman dancing

Todd (VO): You know, go-go girls in bikinis; you know, peace and love, like, you know, "Let's do the mashed potato"; "Let's all do the Batusi." That kind of '60s.

Todd: They're using the '60s, like you know, a Halloween costume.

John: Ooh, I'm a rebel just for kicks, now

Todd (VO): And I'm not sure that this whole vibe of rebelling for fun step with the times.

Todd: 'Cause in the real world, we are bringing the '60s back. But it's because...

News footage of protests of Donald Trump plays over Led Zeppelin - "Communication Breakdown"

Todd (VO): ...we're living in total political chaos, and everyone hates each other. I mean, if there's someone out there participating in any of this shit for kicks, and not, like, existential fear, I haven't seen it.

Todd: So yeah, I like Motown and "Mony Mony" as much as anyone but...

Todd (VO): ...I'm not sure this really fits the zeitgeist.

John: Ooh, I'm a rebel just for kicks, now

Let me kick it like it's 1986, now

Todd: And as for what that part means, I have no clue.

(NOTE: According to the band's own annotations of the song on Genius, the line is a direct reference to the Beastie Boys song, "Fight For Your Right (To Party)", which begins with the words, "Kick it!". Licensed to Ill, the album from which this song comes from, was also released in late 1986.)

Todd (VO): Doesn't exactly, uhh, kick it like [clip of...] Bon Jovi. Can't really imagine anyone break dancing to it. I dunno.

Todd: And then, we've got Imagine Dragons, which...

Video for "Thunder"

Todd (VO): ...ugh, I am so sick of these guys. [clips of "It's Time"...] I mean, yeah, I liked them at first. And I can enjoy [...and...] "Radioactive" again, now that it's not 2013 anymore, and I'm not hearing it every hour. [...and "I Bet My Life"] But I just feel like every song I've heard from them has just been less inspired than the last.

Todd: To me, they're...they've just become a hipster beard Maroon 5.

Clip of Imagine Dragons - "On Top of the World"

Dan: On top of the world, 'ey

Todd (VO): Y-you know what I mean. Their songs have enough hook to get radio play, but, they don't really provoke any emotional reaction. Honestly, I'm not even sure what they're going for most of the time.

Todd: Like, take their hit before this one, "Believer".

Clip of Imagine Dragons - "Believer"

Dan: Pain!

You made me a, you made me a believer

Todd (VO): What is the tone of this song? What is it trying to communicate? What am I supposed to feel when I listen to it? Beats the hell outta me!

Todd: I mean, let's be clear. It-it's trailer music.

Trailer for Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Todd (VO): It's big, portentous, and about nothing. You know, it's-it's perfect for movie trailers, which of course, it has been used in several times now. Does it have anything to do with...whatever this is? Not really...

Todd: ...but it doesn't have to. It just needs to sound big.

Video for "Thunder"

Todd (VO): And "Thunder," what's that about?

Dan: Thunder

Feel the thunder

Lightning and the thunder

Todd: I's about thunder, I guess. Does anyone really care?

Todd (VO): All that matters about it is whatever mild earworm trick Dan Reynolds has come up with this week. In "Thunder's" case, it's...

Todd: ...that he ends every line squawking upward-in-tone, valley girl style.

Dan: Not a yes sir, not a follower

Kids were laughing in my classes

Todd: [valley girl voice] The kids were laughing, in my classes. And it was like grody?

Todd (VO): If that wasn't irritating enough, they double up on that in the chorus by combining the up talk with chipmunked vocals...

Todd: ...making possibly the most annoying chorus in history!

Dan: Lightning before the thunder

Chipmunk vocal: Thunder, thunder

Thunder thun', thunder

Thun-thun-thunder, thunder

Todd: [pause] Kinda sounds like a Pokémon saying its own name.

"Thunder" chorus plays over clip of Pikachu and Piplup from the Pokémon: Diamond & Pearl anime

Todd: Again, there-there's a real disconnect between how he's singing and what he's singing about.

Todd (VO): Like i-is this what he thinks thunder sounds like?

Picture of city with stormy sky. Snippets of the chipmunk voice play simultaneously with thunder claps

Todd: But basically, none of that is why I want to talk about these songs. And for this review, I'm...gonna take off in a bit of a different direction than usual.

Todd (VO): I'll over-analyze the lyrics and make stupid jokes about it some other week. I got...uhh...something about the big picture I wanna say here. Okay, for me, the real interesting thing about these two songs isn't the music or the lyrics, but the places that I heard them.

Todd: Now I'll be honest, and I do regret this, but I've gotten kinda lazy about listening to new music...

Montage of clips from Spotify commercial; Elvis Duran and the Morning Show; 92.3 Amp Radio

Todd (VO): ...'cause I have the entire history of music at my fingertips on Spotify. So, finding new unproven stuff has kind of fallen by the wayside. I mean, there's always radio of course. But, barely anyone listens to that anymore. Pop radio only plays five songs over and over, and there are literally no modern rock stations in my neighborhood. [shot of article: "MTV VMA Ratings Sink, Almost 50% of Viewers Gone in Three Years, Down By More than a Million from Last Year"] Music videos are only barely a thing anymore.

Todd: What I'm saying is, new bands have very limited options for promoting new material. Which is why I was introduced to both of these bands this way.

Clip of Vitamin Water commercial

John: Ooh, I'm a rebel just for kicks, now

Todd (VO): Yes, that was my first association with Portugal. The Man's new big hit single, and probably for you, too; Aaron Paul dancing on his treadmill because Vitamin Water tastes just so good. Or more likely 'cause he's having a hyperactive sugar rush [20 oz Vitamin Water = 33 grams sugar (125 calories)] since that stuff is basically just melted popsicles. And umm...

Todd: ...I can't think which one off the top of my head, but I first heard "Thunder" from an ad.

Clip of Jeep commercial

Dan: I was dreaming of bigger things

Todd (VO): Yeah, yeah-yeah. There it is, that was the one. I mean, I knew it. It had to be. [ad for Nintendo Switch] Literally every Imagine Dragons song has ended up in a commercial, or a movie trailer, or something.

Todd: I mean, I think I heard "Radioactive" in a spot for Arby's.

Clip of Arby's commercial

Dan: Radioactive, radioactive

Todd: And I want to be clear here; I'm not blasting either of these bands for selling out. [hand-jerk motion]

Clip of another Jeep ad with X Ambassadors - "Renegades"

Todd (VO): No, mid-level bands just straight don't make any real money anymore. Except from commercials. I mean think about it-when's the last time you paid for music, huh? I don't mind that they do this; I want my favorite bands to have food and shelter.

Todd: I'm not giving them any shit for licensing their music.

Back to Vitamin Water commercial

Todd (VO): Now, if it actually was 1966, Portugal. The Man would get nothing but shit for this for the rest of their careers, but it's not. [Fossil Smartwatch commercial ft. Beck, "Up All Night"] That attitude was killed when the music industry collapsed, and it was probably stupid to begin with. So what if Portugal. The Man shows up in a Starbucks commercial? If I was gonna complain about it, I should've started a long ass time ago, because pretty much all indie rock bands have been doing this for the past decade.

Todd: Is the music good? [shrugs] Then I don't mind. Or at least, I thought I didn't mind.

Clip of Kia Sorento commercial ft. The Heavy, "How Ya Like Me Now?"

Todd (VO): But it turns out I do. And it's not because of any individual ad. It's because of...all the ads. [Uber commercial ft. Saint Motel, "Move"] Every marketer from every company has been turning to indie rock bands to sell their crappy products. All the bands do it.

Todd: I mean, this is how pervasive it is.

Clips of "Thunder" and "Feel It Still"

Todd (VO): Not only are these two big hits both in TV ads, they're in...

Todd: for competing products!

Clip of iPad commercial ft. "Feel It Still"

Todd (VO): In addition to the spot I already showed you, "Feel It Still" is in an ad for iPads. [commercial for...wait for it] And "Thunder" is the soundtrack of the Microsoft Surface.

Clip of Alexa commercial ft. The Black Keys, "Waiting"

Woman: Alexa, play the Black Keys

Todd (VO): And the Black Keys are in ads for the Amazon tablet...[clips of Samsung Galaxy Tab S commercial...] and Echosmith is selling the Samsung tablet...[...and earlier car commercial ft. X Ambassadors] and, I can only assume X Ambassadors are endorsing [images of...] used Palm Pilots that the homeless guy sells down by my subway...

Todd: ...'cause X Ambassadors sucks, and screw them. [picture of SST Records T-shirt: Corporate Rock Still Sucks.] Indie rock used to hate the idea of being corporate. Now, corporations have swallowed indie rock whole. And, I mean, the entire genre.

Montage of clips from Defiance commercial ft. Imagine Dragons, "Radioactive"; Taco Bell commercial

Todd (VO): From barely indie hacks like Imagine Dragons to tons-of-cred bands like Portugal. The Man. Even the songs that aren't actually in commercials sound like commercials, because that's what commercials sound like now.

Todd: And it hurts the perception of the genre more than regular pop music.

Montage of clips from AT&T commercial ft. Taylor Swift, "...Ready For It?"; Live performance of Metric - "Help, I'm Alive"

Todd (VO): I mean I was gonna hear Taylor Swift's new awful song everywhere anyway. Who cares if it shows up in an AT&T commercial? But these more obscure acts, commercials are often my first and sometimes only connection to them.

Todd: I don't associate them with dancing or driving or meeting a girl. I associate them with...[image of TV and tablet showing...] "I'm waiting for the baseball game to come back on." And it's not fair. I-I know it's not fair. [Nike commercial ft. Portugal. The Man, "Feel It Still"] It's not the music's fault that marketers suddenly developed decent taste in rock...but since I now have that knee-jerk association in my head, when I hear this...

Clip of The Sharks - "This Strange Effect"

Barbara Corcoran: You make my world seem right

You make the...

Todd: ...all I hear is this.

Mentos commercial

Male announcer: Mentos-The Freshmaker

Todd: And what I'm starting to worry is...are bands writing their songs specifically for commercials?

Jeep commercial ft. Imagine Dragons, "I Bet My Life"

Todd (VO): I mean, Imagine Dragons had been...put in like billions of commercials now. Is that an accident? Doesn't feel like it.

Todd: Or here, you've seen this commercial.

Clip of Diet Coke commercial ft. Caravan Palace, "Clash"

Todd (VO): Yeah, drink Diet Coke'll make going through a car wash...

Todd: ...feel amazing [shrugs]. Anyway...

Todd (VO): ...the song that's playing isn't even a real song. It's just a jingle for the ad, I looked it up. But you'd never know! If you told me this was the song by the [photoshopped image of Portugal. The Man] beardy flannel-wearing band from Portland, I'd totally believe you.

Video for "Feel It Still"

Todd (VO): In fact, since Portugal. The Man is basically selling this image of fun rebellion...

Todd: ...I can think of a beverage they'd be perfect for.

"Feel It Still" plays over controversial Pepsi ad

Todd: I mean why even pretend these songs stand on their own? Just-just make them explicitly ad jingles.

Todd: [singing along to "Feel It Still"...] Ooh, I drink Red Bull just for kicks, now. [...and "Thunder"] Buy a Hyundai, a Hyundai. Multilingual suspension on the Hyundai. [normal] So... [shrugs] I don't know. I don't know what to do about it. Like, I don't want to let stuff like this color my perception. Like even the greatest music in the world was a product someone was selling, but...I guess there's a limit.

Clip of iPad commercial

Todd (VO): D-do we have to be such slaves to consumerism? Do they have to rub it in our faces [clip of Jeep Memorial Day Sales Event ad] that every piece of art we enjoy is just a functional product here to support all the soulless industrial complexes that constitute society? [clip of Microsoft Surface ad] If that's the way we have to consume music, I can't, I tried. I cannot enjoy art [clip of Vitamin Water commercial] when every interaction with it is so blatantly tied to commercialism. I refuse. I reject it...

Todd: ...we don't have to live this way. And, if you enjoyed this video, please consider donating to my [logo for...] Patreon. Click this link below, or go to "" That is "" Thank you.

Gets up and leaves

Closing Tag Song: "Sell Out" - Reel Big Fish

"Feel It Still" is owned by Atlantic Records

"Thunder" is owned by Interscope Records

This video is owned by me


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