Pop music, by definition, is the eclectic mix of a variety of music styles, with the added potential for mass appeal. Though a spiteful connotation looms around the genre, the fact remains that pop is spirited and fun. Grace Potter, despite her indie-folk roots, emulates this sentiment veraciously in her solo material, whether she tries to or not. Some may see pop as frilly and cheap, yet Potter shows pop doesn’t have to be a One Direction song. In the hands of Grace Potter, pop is revived and reignited with Midnight, released August 14.
Potter has risen through the ranks of the music world as the multitalented hippie-diva front woman of blues-rock jam band Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, frequently playing guitar and keyboards during performances. Categorized by her dynamic and incredibly soulful voice, her work with the Nocturnals encompasses aspects of alternative rock and folk, as well as country and blues. Potter’s newest album is rank with these overtones, yet other influences are also prominent.
With her brief hiatus from the Nocturnals, Potter has stepped away from collaborating in a band setting to explore her self deeper, while lightly experimenting in the studio with Los Angeles producer Eric Valentine. On Midnight, Potter retains her aggressive, bluesy self to produce a hard-hitting pop album ripe with sexuality and confidence.
Midnight opens with “Hot to the Touch”, a fitting introduction complete with pop hooks and chugging electric guitars that tries a little too hard to be pop rock. The album continues with “Alive Tonight,” a summertime party anthem with a soulful taste, compliments of Potter’s strong female vocals. Songs such as “What We’ve Become” show the hard rock side of Potter, with trudging, distorted guitars driving the track into its anthemic pop chorus.
“Deliriou,s” as described by Potter herself, is reminiscent of Donna Summers’ “Bad Girls,” though it seems to emulate an electro-pop dance track from the ’80s. A standout track of the album is “Your Girl.” Rooted by a smooth bass line and ornamented by funky electric guitars and keyboards, Potter sings about the torment of a love triangle, “I’m dying to cross the line / But I like your girl too much.. The album closes with “Let You Go,” a piano ballad that displays Potter’s exceptional instrumentation, as well as a softer side of her voice.
Grace Potter’s Midnight is a step in the right direction for contemporary pop music, however, it is clear Potter has the potential for even more. She has created a sound launching point for herself, and with a voice like hers, there’s nowhere to go but up.