On top of one being of the most impressive vocalists I’ve heard in recent years, I also get the feeling that Grace Potter might just be a magician. That’s the only explanation because Potter, formally the lead singer of the folk/country rock band Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, has managed to summon a fantastic pop album out of thin air. I guess it makes some sense, midnight is the witching hour after all. Midnight is legitimately fun to listen to, even when it’s at its most serious it has so much charisma that I want to be part of the excitement. I think that’s what makes this album for me compared to the rest of Grace Potter’s work; she’s not taking herself too seriously this time and that is exactly why fans should approach Midnight very seriously.
The first half of the album is unbelievably catchy. In fact, I dare you to make it past track 6, “Delirious”, without hitting repeat on at least one song – I know I can’t. Good hooks and catchy beats aren’t the only commonalities these tracks have though; they’re lyrically complex in exactly the way you would expect from someone with a portfolio like Grace Potter’s. In particular, “Your Girl” and “The Miner” are astoundingly well thought out with nuanced ideas about love that many “love songs” hesitate to touch on. With lyrics about wanting the best for past loves and expecting too much out of our current significant others, Midnight is impressively mature for a pop album and it’s so incredibly refreshing.
While those tracks are good, “Delirious” is a shining example of greatness. A very strong argument could be made for the opinion that it is the best song of 2015 thus far, and I don’t say that lightly. The track starts a 70’s reminiscent synth line that feels so kitschy it might turn some people off, but don’t be deceived – it is part of the appeal. Like much of the rest of the album, “Delirious” turns tropes on their heads with mind-blowing musicality. Grace’s powerful vocals come in and shortly after the song breaks down into a soulful arrhythmic chorus that truly defines the song. While the contrast between old and new musical styles is fun and creative, Potter is careful not to let it get stale before she finishes out the track with an astounding vocal solo. If you only have the time to listen to one track from this album, I implore you to make it this one.
It might be the high point established from “Delirious”, but the second half of the album as a whole seems to fall a little flat for me compared to the first. Don’t get me wrong, I love the unabashed rock and roll feel of “Instigators”, and you can really feel Grace’s roots on “Nobody’s Born with a Broken Heart.” Overall, I think Midnight is best compared to a bonfire; it’s big, bold, bright, and a touch dangerous at first and the settles into a soft warm smolder that feels just familiar enough to be comfortable. That might just be the magic to this album honestly; it feels new and old, subtle and bold, and impressively original.