Album Review

Bully - Lucky For You

A near-perfect album if there ever was one.

Bully - Lucky For You

If, as Radiohead infamously once decided, anyone can play guitar and, as midwives worldwide are able to attest, the vast majority of us are born screaming, two deceptively more difficult things to do are to convey emotion in song and write big pop choruses. Bully’s Alicia Bognanno, thankfully, is pretty good at all four, and on fourth record ‘Lucky For You’ does so in spellbinding fashion. It’s an emotionally raw record from the off. Opener ‘All I Do’ makes like the journey its lyrics describe (“Drove up to Chicago just to talk to you…”), its series of erratic couplets punctuated by shifts in vocal tone as if to echo a teary stream-of-consciousness with realisations being made in real time, from the pause before the repeated “I wanna feel the way I used to”, to the exasperated “I’m done”, to the restraint of the middle eight jolted away by the full-throttle, distorted roar of “I’ll never get fucked up again.” But it’s every bit as powerful musically too. She navigates the depth, range and often scattershot appearance of emotions that surround loss (the album is dedicated to her late dog, just to add to any tugged heartstrings), using her voice in more varied ways than ever. There’s Sonic Youth-style layering met with spoken word on ‘A Love Profound’, and a call-and-response with herself on ‘How Will I Know’; throughout, she somehow ticks off the stages of grief via earworms. On the grungey, Soccer Mommy-featuring gem ‘Lose You’ and swooning ‘A Wonderful Life’, it’s sadness; ‘Days Move Slow’ arrives for denial, and ‘Change Your Mind’ for bargaining, while anger is both directed inward (the baggy-influenced ‘Hard to Love’) and out (‘All This Noise’ seethes at the state of the world outside as she sings, “Jesus won’t save the polar bears or halt the melting ice / But he’ll give you an excuse to shame and take our bodies’ rights”). A near-perfect album if there ever was one.

Tags: Bully, Reviews, Album Reviews

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