I watch a lot of cable news. Way too much to be exact. ‘Bananas,’ ‘crazy pants,’ and ‘psycho’ are some of the descriptors used by broadcasters who can no longer conceal their bafflement or disgust when describing the current administration’s behaviors. America is completely out of control. It’s ‘Twilight Zone’ insanity. We cannot simply comment on the recklessness, contributing further to the lunacy. Our only option is to resist. David Shaw, lead vocalist of The Revivalists has debuted “Shaken” and “Promised Land” prior to his 2021 album release. The timing of these two songs couldn’t be more apt. Shaw’s tracks are raw, directed and empowering, instilling the power to fight on.
The “Shaken” video portrays Shaw’s younger self bullied and abused. Even if you haven’t been tormented by school yard peers the scenes are relatable. Fidgeting in fright, facing the threat, feelings of defeat, the cruelty repeated, exploding in fury, surmounting the pain and, if lucky, ultimately triumphing. “I’m still standing here, shaken, shaken.” The boisterous chorus is formidable in its meaning. The magnitude of the hurt will always run deep, leaving an impact. Even if there is a slight quivering, we tap our wells of inner strength. There is no giving up. (I’ve been there. My boyfriend tried to destroy me. That was his last earthly ‘gift.’ I didn’t accept it. I choose to resume living fully and with meaning, seeing the beauty in me.) The song is presented in an extremely upbeat, easily danceable fashion making the compelling message even more effective. I couldn’t help but smile watching Shaw throw himself about, his curly locks bouncing joyfully.
“Promised Land” is primal, with an underlying intentness and clear resolve. Shaw reinvents the blues, inserting a modern, tribal and somewhat gritty twist. The drums are punchy, even angry. The sliding guitar softly squeals before becoming at times both breathy as well as appropriately eerie in its oscillation. Shaw’s lyrics focused on the social injustices are hard-hitting and disturbingly relevant. His voice is commanding yet still tender, exposing the uneven dynamics that require immediate attention.
The loss of John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are tragic. Their voices, (“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble and help redeem the soul of America.” – Lewis and “I dissent.” – RBG) equated righteousness and propelled ideologies that positively altered our collective consciousness. Music, when done well, can have the same affects. Shaw’s singles succeed in creating confidence, momentum, exposure and necessary mobilization around change. My only complaint is having to wait until 2021 to not only enjoy but benefit from Shaw’s album which illustrated by these two tracks is guaranteed to be outstanding.