Play (Lists)

Witty Banter is One for the Books

March 21st. A day that I will always think of amazing album releases. DC-based musician, producer, and singer-songwriter, Rachel Levitin, released Witty Banter on her 37th birthday. Witty Banter is a 12-song pop-rock collection inspired by a series of events spread over nearly a dozen years recounting a journey of self-discovery while growing through unexpected tragedies and set-backs. She shares this release date on the 24th anniversary of one of my (and Rachel’s) favorite albums, No Strings Attached by *NSYNC.

According to Levitin, “The vibe of Witty Banter harkens back to the biggest hits of the early 00’s by combining the hook-focused adrenaline rush of Y2K-era Top 40 Pop, like *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Avril Lavigne, along with the lyrical prowess and sonic sophistication of early 00’s singer-songwriters like Norah Jones, Sara Bareilles, Rachael Yamagata, Gavin DeGraw, and Tony Lucca.” 

As I was listening to this album trying to figure out a top three, I kept finding myself saying, “NO, this is a top three song for sure!” Then the next track would play and throw me off. Being a lifelong fan of artists like Britney Spears, *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and Gavin DeGraw, it is no wonder I adore this album. If I had to pick favorites, they would be “Scar Tissue” and “Hear Me”

“Scar Tissue” feels like it should be in an early 2000’s teen movie where two unlikely people get to know each other and sing this song together, and as the chorus hits  “…We’ve been hurt before, been kicked down, broken, and ignored…”, a montage of flashbacks of the characters getting hurt appear. The two then smile at each other as they sing “No, that’s not our lives anymore.” As much as I like to wish I was a teen in the early 2000’s, I was not…but this song made me feel like I was. It made me nostalgic for something I never experienced.

Another favorite is “Hear Me”. What an empowering song to listen to, especially during Women’s History Month! “Keep that toxic nonsense far away from me” is a motto we should always be thinking. The last 50 seconds of this song are my favorite. The drums and piano during this part as Rachel sings “Don’t drown me out…Hear me now!” make me want to sing and twirl on stage in a Broadway musical in a solo song before intermission.

To celebrate Witty Banter, there is an album release show scheduled for May 31, 2024 at Jammin Java in Vienna, VA featuring fellow DC pop band Mystery Friends.


Cover photo by Isaac Soria

Maura Marcellino

Maura Marcellino is studying business and environmental sustainability at George Mason University. When she is not studying, Maura enjoys listening to music and spending time with friends and family.

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