Two-time Grammy Award Winner Gregory Porter's feeling the spirit on "Revival"!



Time, life, culture are all funny things sometimes. We like to think we're zooming forward in a straight line - that yesterday's sins are retreating in the rearview mirror, that we are moving towards a brighter tomorrow. In many ways, it's true. We've taken great strides towards living in a more fair, just, equal society for everybody, not just a privileged very select few.

Unfortunately, history has a way of exacting revenge. The status quo holds on with all of their might, clinging to the old ways with an iron death grip. Sometimes, it seems, for every step forward we take, we're shoved three back. For every bright spot, it seems we are doused in darkness. It's frustrating and more than a little bit scary.

This push/pull dichotomy lies at the heart of "Revival," the Gospel-fuelled soul banger from two-time Grammy Award winner Gregory Porter. According to Porter, "Revival" is straight-up Gospel, calling back to the artist's Christian upbringing. It's every bit as much Soul Revival as Big Tent holy rolling, luckily, reminding us that the Holy Spirit can be found just about anywhere, from Sunday morning service to a Dusty Springfield.

Gospel music has always played an important part in African-American music. It brims and bristles with an electric spark, full of rapturous cries and ecstatic hand-clapping. Even the most hardcore metalhead would have a hard time staying grim in this Electric Church.



The accompanying music video helps make some of these themes even more explicit. It starts off with a young man hearing the news about yet another acquittal for police brutality against People of Color. They show the young man shrinking and shrinking, making for a powerful metaphor for the feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness in light of such enormous inequality. That was a tale as old as the United States in the early '90s, when the Rodney King trial plunged Los Angeles into anarchy. 30 years later, we're still wrestling with these specters. Yet, as the video shows, there's still plenty of dancing to be had. A revolution without dancing isn't worth taking part in, We Are: The Guard would like to remind you!


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.