Song of the Day: 'Stars' by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

Haunting, poignant and with just the right amount of soul, “Stars”, from the stupendous album The Lion The Beast The Beat, is an all-encompassing portrait of grief over a profound loss. Grace Potter’s vocals are rich in intoxicating, sorrow and triumph.

The slow instrumentation sets in and Potter allows the lyrics to take center stage. A good decision because the words that she has to say with this song are achingly affecting. “I lit a fire with the love you left behind/and it burned wild and crept up the mountain side” she evokes the imagery of nature amidst a background of agonizing heartbreak.

This is such a clever and effective way to express how grief can sneak up on you. No matter where you are, there are reminders everywhere when you are trying the most to avoid the pain of remembering.

Whether she is speaking to the permanent loss of a loved one due to death, we can’t know for sure. She could be in the process of mourning the separation of a person that has become figuratively dead and still lingering on the landscape of existence.

No matter the meaning, she casts a wide net that a lot of people in a similar scenario can find a catharsis in. “Stars” is bold in its rhythms and Potter’s wondrous vocals set siege to a spectacular chorus. It’s a captivating melody that doesn’t go overboard with instrumentation, bare when it needs to be and efficiently emotive elsewhere.

The symmetry of the lyrics makes it an easy listen, the words and their arrangement, are sonic kismet. Potter never fails to bring soul to whatever song she’s singing and here she brings an equal amount of heart along with it. “Stars” is in another universe.

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