Monday, March 16th, 2015

Gregory Porter ft. Laura Mvula – Water Under Bridges

I heard there’s a fifty per cent off sale on clichés; let’s stock up…


Katherine St Asaph: Consider the following metaphors: “it’s water under the bridge,” “burning bridges,” “bridges that have already burned.” Pretend for a sec they aren’t clichés but literal things to imagine; note which ones are action-packed and which are dull. Now see which two the song uses.

Iain Mew: It takes real dullness to create the cliché pile-up of “water under bridges that have already burned” and not just sing it so guilelessly but make it the centre of your song. Gregory’s voice is pleasant, Laura’s is charming, but it’s still not enough to recover things.

Maxwell Cavaseno: The twin-headed snake eating its own tail of Sheeran-core and John Legend making The Fray music has wrought this. Now the Steve Harvey crowd is making “Please hold, your call is important to us” music. Ugh, the excessive mannerisms in these cadences. These awkward melodies! How do you do so much so badly and with such false modesty?

Jonathan Bradley: Sometimes grown-up music sounds boring because it is about small moments and quiet subtleties young people are too excitable to care about. I mean, I hated Fleetwood Mac until I was deep into my twenties! But I’m thirty-one now, and lord help me if ever I find anything in the mushiness of old age to cause this to resonate. The [1] point is for its valuable counterpoint to creeping ’90s nostalgia: in between the diva-house and funk-R&B that characterised that era’s charts, there was also a whole load of this aural oatmeal.

Alfred Soto: Porter’s warmth and what sounds like genuine interplay between him and Laura Mvula almost redeems the Babyface-circa-’95 production but warmth and likability aren’t enough: why are they so damn serious about a song with this chorus?

Scott Mildenhall: You’d have to be a complete Electro Velvet to mess up the fail-safe romantic, interplay-laden duet. This is an exemplary lesson in how to do it properly, and one in harnessing the market concerns that lead Cheryl Cole to stand in the background of videos in selected territories into something worthwhile: genuinely worthy of a “deluxe edition.” The delicately modulated melody of the original is given more pep — and Mvula. Both vocalists build and build to release, then unfurl into nursery rhyme accoutrements and finally a Bublé-esque back-reference to one of Porter’s other songs. Crafty, in many ways.

Brad Shoup: /mails jazz a get-well card

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6 Responses to “Gregory Porter ft. Laura Mvula – Water Under Bridges”

  1. Never thought I’d find myself assuming the role of Jazz Defender in my life.

  2. wow no one mentioned how they actually sing “london bridge is falling down” – I haven’t laughed out loud at a song in a while

  3. wait they sing that part during the bridge and now I’m laughing again

  4. Excellent! I missed the latter. I chose to take that part as commentary on the rennovation works at London Bridge station that are affecting people’s journeys for the next few years.

  5. In the song, aren’t the clichés (and the entire mixed metaphor) being espoused by someone TO the singer, and the song itself about the singer’s inability to buy the clichés — or perhaps even about the futility of clichés?

  6. Yes, and it’s a little funny that went unexplored. I think it’s because there’s so little else to the song to make it work. I contrast this personally to The Streets’ “Dry Your Eyes” which had plenty of critics along the same lines but was full of precise material that made the intended bitterness of the chorus clear.