Ok. Everyone needs to just calm down.
Grace Potter released her newest effort as a solo album and everyone is flipping out. If you've been following Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' career, you love the sound that the band has perfected and expanded through four albums and can't imagine your life without that perfect Nocturnal sound. Well - don't worry. Midnight is basically a Nocturnal record without & the Nocturnals attached to the Grace Potter logo.
It's understandable that Potter drop & the Nocturnals for this project as the band's last (and best) album The Lion The Beast The Beat failed to do anything commercially. The fact that everyone basically ignored "Stars" (except for its little stint with country audiences) is a loss to the mainstream music community. So - it only makes sense to kind of restart Potter as a solo artist to get people talking.
Musically, as I said, this is a Nocturnal record (in fact, 3 of the Nocturnals play on it) and as a whole not at all superior to The Lion The Beast The Beat. Potter does her thing - I'll give her that. She plows through twelve tracks like the pro that she is.
The album moves pretty fast. "Hot to the Touch," "Alive Tonight," "Your Girl" are pretty much a whirlwind of pop with famed producer Eric Valentine mixing grit and sheen, depending on which song needs more of which, on each. "Empty Heart" is Potter's throwback that brings to mind Sheryl Crow's musical peak while "The Miner" is as close to the perfection of "Stars" as we get. Other tracks feel like knockoffs or deletions from past Nocturnal albums. "Instigators" and "Biggest Fan" is nice if we hadn't already had "Turntable"; "Look What We've Become" is fun in a MGMT "Electric Feel" kind of way. The last three tracks are pretty heartfelt and all worth multiple listens. "Low" is the token "You're not alone" ballad - and its a nice welcome after all of the carefree fun of the second half of the album. "Nobody's Born with a Broken Heart" follows the same mantra of "Low" and makes for a good sing-along in a Brandi Carlile kind of way. "Let You Go" is the R&B/Gospel closer that showcases Potter's vulnerability perfectly.
The problem with Midnight is that is a good album. Of course it is. It treads the same waters that Potter has been treading in since Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. Apart from "Delirious" that has Potter experimenting with a structure other than verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chrous - there's nothing interesting on any of these tracks. It's a step back from the passion filled, blood, sweat and tears The Lion The Beast The Beat but should be a decent introduction for anyone who thinks Grace Potter is a solo artist . . . or Sheryl Crow - which makes Midnight a good album, not a great one.