Gregory Porter - "Don't Lose Your Steam" (Singles Going Steady)

by PopMatters Staff

30 March 2016

Gregory Porter has his eyes on the good things in life and uses his voice to remind us of their presence.
 

Steve Horowitz: Gregory Porter’s voice resembles that of the great Bill Withers, but with a lower end to make it even more soulful. He croons with sincerity and hope on this song, as he tells the listener to keep moving ahead. The video largely taken in the barbershop tells of community and joy in a befitting manner. Porter has his eyes on the good things in life and uses his voice to remind us of their presence. [9/10]
  

Emmanuel Elone: Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Gregory Porter’s new song is decent, but could have been great. The organ notes and horn flourishes fill make the instrumentation vibrant, and Porter’s voice is as smooth and warm as a cup of hot chocolate. The main issue with this track, though, is the combination of the two. The hook is alright, but Porter sounds a bit awkward and out of place next to the backing horn section. Throughout the song, it feels as if Gregory is competing with the instrumentation for the spotlight rather than working with it to build a great song. So, while “Don’t Lose Your Steam” is not a bad song, there are some kinks in it that need to be ironed out if it’s to become anything more than average. [6/10]

Chris Ingalls: Gregory Porter is a soul singer of the highest order, taking cues from influences as diverse as Bill Withers and Solomon Burke, and that combination seems like the best frame of reference for this irresistible retro R&B single. Combining Burke’s primal shout with Wither’s more restrained maturity, it’s all tied together with a tight soul/jazz feel. Horns dominate the instrumentation, including a brief, killer sax solo. Hammond organs and piano keep it all grounded and funky. A real gem. [9/10]

Pryor Stroud: The vintage soul stylings of Gregory Porter’s “Don’t Lose Your Steam” are hard to resist at a purely visceral level. He hits notes—and draws them out into mini sentimental dramas—with a marrow-deep conviction reminiscent of Bill Withers’s best performances, and the piano-bass-drum backbeat he deploys here is too primally insistent to be criticized on any meaningful level. “Young man, I’m counting on you / To get me to the other side”, he confides, underscoring the fact that the coming generation will play a vital role in advancing us closer to a future where racial animosity is eradicated—and, in certain moments, Porter grapples with notes that make this future seem not only possible, but imminent. [6/10]

Chad Miller: A little bit ambiguous lyrically, though it’s probably some sort of murky self-encouragement. The music is somewhat enjoyable, but I felt like the song was difficult to really engage with. Lyrically it’s not that interesting, and it really never grows from where it starts off. [6/10]

SCORE: 7.20


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