By Paige Beyer ’18
It’s been ten years since Grace Potter’s solo album, Original Soul, debuted. Since then, Potter has made a name for herself mostly with the help of her band, The Nocturnals. The group has successfully released four albums, becoming heavy favorites in the world of jam bands and festival circuits. Their self-titled third album gained commercial success and catapulted them to international status, all eyes shifting to Grace. Midnight, however, is the latest solo effort released by Potter. The record shows her willingness to experiment as she ditches her Hammond B3 organ and roaring riffs for an electronic drum kit and plenty of synth to create a solid mix of pop-rock tunes.
Midnight is in no way a representation of what fans of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (GPN) have come to fall in love with; Vermont based rockers with folk and blues influences carried by a powerhouse female vocalist. While there’s nothing wrong with an artist branching out and experimenting with sound, many might be disappointed by this record. Potter may have enjoyed emulating the sound of the ‘80s playing with a pop feel, but Midnight sounds very polished and lacks the intricate musicianship of her previous albums. That’s not to say that the new songs are a complete miss. They’re undeniably catchy, some reminiscent of Prince’s 1999 album, and continue to show off Grace’s impeccable vocal range.
While fans may criticize Potter for her latest effort as she leans toward a seemingly more radio friendly album, it’s easy to imagine these songs coming to life when played live. Both Matt Burr and Benny Yurco of the Nocturnals helped record the album and are currently part of her supporting band. Perhaps the songs will actually be better live, leaving the bells and whistles in the studio. It’s not in any way a bad record, but it simply feels like a step back compared to her previous releases. Regardless, Potter still proves she is more than capable of holding her own lyrically, vocally, and instrumentally. Midnight is worth a listen, but definitely not a definition of Potter as an artist.
Songs worth a listen:
Nobody’s Born With a Broken Heart: Lyrically one of the better songs off the album. Also, enjoy the gospel feel of this tune.
Your Girl: Groovy tune that will no doubt reignite your lost love of the ’80s-think Prince.
Let You Go: The closer of Midnight, this sounds the most like a GPN tune.