Sounds of switching the radio dial starts the song. Muffled broadcasts lay atop each other. Static. Then, a throbbing bass guitar. Then, magic. The single “WTF” is from Tallahassee, Florida’s band Once Great Estate. Describing their music as Americana, the band is likely more 60s rock and roll with some roots rock plucked between the measures. “WTF” is a glorious nostalgic ride with modern perks.
Once Great Estate, a five-piece band, relies heavily on a strong female voice to lead this pop rock-sounding song. Right from the get-go, the instrumentation sounds tight and recalls the strumming of “Last Kiss” (both from Pearl Jam and J. Frank Wilson) with the bass just strutting its stuff. The guitar has sticky licks and when the lyrics “what’s this all about….we’re just a floating rock…faking compassion for your pain and misery, I can do it better than you, I can do it better than you” hit the listener, it swells near doo-wop level fun.
In no way is “WTF” kitsch, but rather a fusion of passionate musicians. At the song’s bridge, a violin plays – sounding more like a fiddle than something classical. The strings keep the song light and the flow is easy to embrace. As a listener, my mind wandered on how to interpret this song and what ‘WTF’ really means. I can only guess, and this is just me, that the songwriter’s felt like we’re all just these humans on a planet, looking for love, and we all have insecurities. Some of us hide our shortcomings better than others; some people feign confidence.
I loved how the vibe and the tones switch in “WTF” but at its core, it’s a toe-tapper. Having a female vocal lead almost gives the song a more endearing, more gentle mood. It’s not patronizing, but very matter-of-fact. I think there’s strong storytelling in this song. The wave of creeping guitar rock mixed with strings and giddy percussion is second only to the vocals. The music bed gives the emotion and the vocals, well, they do the talking in “WTF”.
Recorded and mixed at Indianhead Factory, Tallahassee, FL.
Overall, “WTF” is a gem. This song has many surprises with each listen. While the band states in their official biography that their music reflects the passion and love for the Earth and the environment, I would dare add that I think in a song like “WTF” is also mirrors the strong gift of tale that many artists possess. Once Great Estate, besides having an awesome band name, have a seriously interesting sound. I would love to hear this song live to see if they improvised or jammed out on some different parts. I’d also really love to know more about the background of the title and subject.
“WTF” is a song that would be gobbled up by fans of Dion, Tracey Ullman, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, John Mellencamp, The Dixie Chicks and more. “WTF” is a great addition to one’s playlist for consumption at any part of the day – especially to put a morning smile.