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Meaning of the song ‘Feel It Still’ by ‘Portugal. The Man’

Released: 2017

“Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man is a groovy blend of retro vibes and modern alt-rock that captures the spirit of rebellion and nostalgia in a catchy, danceable tune. At its core, the song celebrates being an outsider and finding joy in nonconformity, all while reflecting on the passage of time with a mix of whimsy and depth.

The opening lines, “Can’t keep my hands to myself / Think I’ll dust ’em off, put ’em back up on the shelf” suggest a person grappling with restlessness and the temptation to break free from routine or expectations. There’s a playfulness here, suggesting that even though the speaker knows they should perhaps settle down (“in case my little baby girl is in need”), there’s an ever-present urge to defy norms (“Am I coming out of left field?”).

The chorus, “Ooh-woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks, now / I been feeling it since 1966, now”, throws us back to the 1960s, a time synonymous with cultural and political upheaval, driven by a desire for change. The song cleverly uses this historical reference to highlight a lifelong commitment to rebellion – but it’s a rebellion characterized by a search for fun and liberation (“just for kicks”) rather than anger or bitterness. The notion that it “might be over now, but I feel it still” speaks to the lasting impact of this attitude, suggesting that even as times change, the spirit of rebellion remains.

In the verse “Got another mouth to feed / Leave it with a baby sitter, mama, call the grave digger / Gone with the fallen leaves,” there’s an exploration of responsibility juxtaposed with the inevitability of change and perhaps mortality. The imagery is vivid – life moves forward, seasons change, but there’s an undercurrent of carefree defiance that persists.

The bridge, “We could fight a war for peace / Give in to that easy living / Goodbye to my hopes and dreams / Start flipping for my enemies,” touches on the irony of fighting for peace and the compromises one makes along the way. It’s a critique of complacency and losing sight of one’s ideals, yet it’s delivered with a sense of resignation and acceptance. The line “It’s time to give a little to the kids in the middle” suggests a recognition of the next generation caught in the crossfire of societal changes, urging support without overbearing control.

In conclusion, “Feel It Still” resonates as an anthem for those who find themselves out of step with the times yet still influenced by the echoes of the past. It’s about the joy of dissent and the sweet melancholy of looking back while moving forward. Portugal. The Man wraps this complex cocktail of emotions in a vibrant, infectious melody that’s as thought-provoking as it is irresistibly danceable.

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