It's OK If You "Haven't Accomplished Anything" This Decade

A viral tweet sent the internet into a self-deprecating frenzy.


If the passing of time has escaped your notice, I regret to inform you that there's only one full month remaining in the current decade.

This could be unfortunate news to those of us who like to quantify our accomplishments within timely increments. It was certainly an unwelcome reminder to a large population on Twitter, as they readily expressed when user @stfutony sent the website into a tizzy after asking a well-meaning question: "There's only ONE MONTH left in the decade. What have you accomplished?" Naturally, a wide array of responses ensued. Some used it as an opportunity to list their notable milestones—graduations, marriages, overcoming illnesses—but others took issue with the retrospective. To some, it was only a reminder of what they hadn't accomplished as much as they wanted to.

But why do we use these increments of time like years and decades to reflect on ourselves, anyway? New Year's resolutions have a long history, tracing back as far as 4,000 years ago. The month of January is named for the Janus, a god the ancient Romans believed to have two faces: one facing forward and one backward. In that context, then, it makes sense that we have this ingrained habit around the turn of the year to contemplate how we spent our last year and how we want to approach the new one.

But the Romans weren't taking into account that sometimes, in the modern era particularly, looking back at long periods of your life can be rough. Surely, we've all accomplished something in the last ten years, but we've also all likely experienced a lot of struggle and pain that can overshadow our achievements. It's also important to take into account those of us who struggle with mental health issues that can make the past decade seem much darker. And it doesn't help that social media has made comparing ourselves to others much easier and more damaging than ever. Not everyone necessarily benefits from analyzing their past so broadly.

Of course, Twitter users weren't shy about voicing their complaints: "All [this] does is make me, and other people, who haven't really accomplished anything bragworthy or notable, feel like absolute s**t," one said. Another said the tweet reminded them that they "wasted six years with a person who never thought [they were] worth a damn and he actually held [them] back from accomplishing anything worthwhile." And it wouldn't have been a true viral Twitter moment if some users didn't memeify it: "there's only ONE month left in the decade," tweeted @what_eats_owls. "WHAT have you done to make your enemies curse your name and salt the earth in your wake?"

Maybe using the calendar to delineate your accomplishments is a natural method of reflection, but if we can learn anything from this Twitter fiasco, it's that using years and decades as markers for our personal growth is incredibly arbitrary. We're all floating through life on our own timeline; focusing on what we can improve moving forward is far more productive than comparing ourselves to strangers on the internet.

Zackery Michael

Since rocketing to the tops of charts with "Wish I Knew You" in 2015, soulful-rock band The Revivalists have racked up millions of streams across platforms, received critical acclaim for 2018's Take Good Care, and, just a few days ago, opened for The Rolling Stones.

Led by the distinctive voice of frontman David Shaw, the 8-piece band is known for their electric live shows, which have made them a festival highlight with their genre-bending sound and almost painfully cool aesthetic. Now, the band is bringing fans into the studio with their newly released live track and video for "Oh No (Made In Muscle Shoals)." The video illuminates what makes The Revivalists so special: They are a band that truly lives and dies by the strength of their stage presence and musicianship. Featuring a pedal steel guitar, unique two-drummer set-up, horns, and more, the video is the first taste of The Revivalists' full Muscle Shoals live session coming later this year.

Popdust got the chance to talk with The Revivalist's bass player, George Gekas, about the new video, the band's history, and the night he got to share the stage with The Rolling Stones.

George GekasZackery Michael

So first of all, can you tell me about the new video for "Oh No"?

Yeah, about a month, a month and a half ago, maybe even a little bit longer, we decided to do some recording at the famous studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and we figured it'd be a great idea to capture some of it. We hired a really great film crew and what they did was they just kind of acted as a fly on the wall and caught us in the moment.

Tell me just a little bit about the song itself. How did it come about? When did you guys write it?

Well, you know, the funniest thing about this song is that when we were trying to get our album pieced together, it wasn't a song necessarily in contention. It wasn't that people didn't want to play it, it was just one we didn't necessarily think a producer would latch on to. We were in Nashville Studio A with David Cobb, and there was a pretty bare bones demo. He was able to tell what the song was, so we were able to flesh it out from the demo and go in there and knock out the song. And it's definitely the most rocking track on the new album, and fans are very receptive to it live.

Who wrote it?

Dave (David Shaw) was the one responsible for writing the song. I'm not going to speak on his behalf about what his intentions were, but I think it's a song that can be interpreted in a couple of ways. You can see it as introspective, about what's going on with your life, but it could also be like a big party song in the same way. And I think, uh, one of the beautiful things about trying to decipher what a song means to somebody is there's a million different ways to represent and interpret what a song means to somebody. So what it means to me might be totally different from what it means to you.

What does it mean to you, then?

I think for us it's a good old fashion rock and roll song, which is nice because we don't have as much of that as we used to. It's good, wholesome fun. It's fun and people really enjoy it.

More generally about the band: It's obviously a pretty large number of people involved. Is it a very collaborative effort or are does every member have a very specific role?

It depends on what we're trying to get done. We're all involved in all aspects of the business, from playing songs, writing songs, overseeing how stuff operates, etc. We divvy things up, but at the same time, you don't want to have too many people working on stuff at once. We've just been lucky enough to kind of have this delicate balance and chemistry that has always worked out between the members, so it's never been a huge deal. We get this question asked to us all the time, and there's no right or wrong answers. But, ultimately, when you can just get us in a room playing music together, that's when it just kind of clicks. It just works. We don't want to jinx it, so we try not to think about it too much.

You're a band with so many live instruments and so much musicianship. How important to you is the live music aspect? Especially at this point, when so much of live music is becoming so digital, you guys are really up there playing your instruments. What do you see as the value of that?

We have so many bodies that there's no reason why we would need to be playing tracks or have something pre-recorded play out. We pride ourselves on the fact that we are truly live music. It's easier now to just throw a laptop up there and have that play. But I think people always like having that visceral connection physically and watching somebody perform something, as opposed to just having it play. It just sounds better if you can recreate the live sounds to make it work. And I think it looks a lot cooler to have a bunch of people rocking out instead of a few people on laptops. Not that there's anything wrong with DJs; I love dance music, too. But there's so much to compete with now, right? People have so many forms of entertainment and content. You really have to compete with everything, because somebody can sit on their couch and binge Netflix all day more easily than see a concert. Right. But I think live music is still the thing that just really trumps everything else.

You guys often have a very distinctive sound, but this new single, "Oh No," is a little bit different. It's got a little bit more of a Black Keys, garage-rock sound. Is that something that's you guys are experimenting with more? How has your sound developed over the years?

The development of the sound comes from having incredibly different individuals create the music collectively. We've never really pigeonholed ourselves into a corner saying, "Oh, we need to sound like this or we need to do this." Whatever we're feeling when we play, we kind of just cater to that instead of trying to specifically try and fit a certain medium of music. We generally have always beat to our own drum, so to speak. We do cast a wide net, and that's one thing I think that people have come to appreciate over the years. The catalog has a lot of varying styles, and we like to keep it fresh that way. It's fun.

If you had to place the band's music in genre—I know you just said you don't want to be pigeonholed—but if you had to, what would your answer to that question be?

Rob, our sax player, always says, "If you want to hear a guy in a band sound like an asshole, ask him to explain what his band sounds like." But, uh, soulful rock band has always just been the easiest thing to say to somebody. We're a rock band through and through; but we also have more ballady folk numbers, and we have some straight up rockers and have some funk too; we have some deep country sounding stuff; we have some stuff that even borders on like Electronica. If there's somebody out there who has found out the best way to describe us in one to three words, we are all ears.

Tell me a little about opening for the Rolling Stones. That's a pretty big deal.

You know, there's a few times where, for me personally, when we're doing this stuff, I just kind of like laugh in astonishment. And it's, uh, it's just the culmination of a lot of hard work and tenacity and perseverance. Performing before The Rolling Stones is only 1% of all the time and effort we put in to get to the spot we're in; it's a small piece of the puzzle. But having the opportunity to open up for the biggest band in the world just meant so much, and it's something we'll never forget. Anything could happen from now, but they can never take it away from us. It was totally surreal, and it wasn't just us up there celebrating; it was our families and friends that have become close to our inner circle. They were celebrating, too. It's really bigger than us. A lot of people love getting to tell people that they've known us for a long time and we opened for the Rolling Stones. People really like calling us their band. It's like we have another member of the band, almost: the audience. So we just try to do what we think is right in our hearts. And usually our fans are pretty honest with us about what we're doing, and we're just so elated to get that opportunity.

Did you get a chance to hang out with them (The Rolling Stones) at all?

We had a quick hello and took a picture. It was about a minute or so, but a quick handshake and a picture was much more than 99% of the population will get. We actually got to do it right before they went on stage. So that was a really kind gesture on their part.

So here you are having opened for the Rolling Stones, but let's talk about the beginning of the band for a second. For those who don't know, tell me about the inspiration for your band name?

So the year was 2006 or 2007, I think. New Orleans had just experienced Hurricane Katrina. Not that many of the band members were in town when it happened or had any kind of catastrophic things happen, thank god. But the city itself was in a revival. Zack, our guitar player, had watched this 60 Minutes piece on Bruce Springsteen, and they were talking about how his live shows had a revivalist fervor to it, similar to the tent revivals, with those southern preachers that that they used to have back in the day. So that's where the name came from. It was the combination of Jack watching the 60 Minutes piece and the city being in the state of revival and renewal, and that's where the name came from. I guess It's better than a bunch of guys putting names in a hat, 'cause I've been in bands where we've done that before too.

What do you guys have coming up. When can fans expect a new album?

So "Oh No" is the next single being released off the album. We have a big tour coming up in the next couple of weeks, in August, that will take us through the end of the festival season. And we will be headlining a show at Red Rocks amphitheater on September 21st. That will kind of take us into the new year where we will get back to touring, and we'll slowly but surely start the kindling process of figuring out what we want to do for our next record. But we're not exactly rushed right now to do it.

Last question: For you personally, why have you chosen a life of music? What do you see as the purpose of what you do every day?

You know what, I don't necessarily think you choose it. It chooses you. 'Cause I remember being a kid and there was nothing else I really wanted to do. You know what I mean? And then you just find it, if you're lucky. You can find what you're passionate about, and you make it your living, and then you'll never have to work a day in your life, so to speak. Yeah. I think a lot of people have their callings, and some people are lucky enough to be able to find that and know what it is and really reach out and go and grab for it. And I'm blessed and fortunate to be one of those people.

Watch the new video below!