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CD of The Week

Week of 6/05/23

    Bully - Lucky For You (Sub Pop)

    Bully wastes no time laying down another floorboard to the house of anthemic rock that singer Alicia Bognanno has been building since day one. Still using Bully as the moniker for her solo works (since her last album, 2020’s SUGAREGG), Bognanno exercises free reign over what she writes. Due to the recent passing of her best friend and number-one supporter, she has dedicated Lucky for You to Mezzi, her beloved dog. She tweeted, “I wish I had the right words to sum up what this record means to me in a paragraph but I’ll never find them so for now I’ll just say I love you Mez, this one’s for you <3”

    But Lucky for You is not a mopey, sad and depressed record; it’s the complete opposite, as any Bully fan would hope. She acknowledges the situations that she has been dealt and rather than collapsing into a death spiral, focuses on the positives or necessary action. The opening track, “All I Do” takes off with an upbeat Strokes-y rhythm and her signature gritty, intensely shout-y vocals are layered overtop, looking back on her choice to remain sober, three years strong, capitalizing on the line “I’ll never get f*cked up again.” Album ender kicks up the punk element, sounding as aggressive and politically frustrated as any Amyl and the Sniffers track, singing about guns, religious hypocrisy, climate change denial, and women’s rights with “I won’t let a man choose my own body’s plan / I’m tired of waiting for change and debating.” And the album’s lead single “Days Move Slow” is a direct tribute to Mezzi, played out in such a Semisonic / Third Eye Blind 90’s style, that it should come with patchouli incense and a coupon for Manic Panic. She moves from bleak depression to optimistic clarity quickly with the lyric “I’m living in the same black hole / but there’s flowers on your grave that grow.”

    On Lucky for You, she has enlisted help from two Nashville friends in producer JT Daly (Pvris), and featured vocalist Sophie Allison (Soccer Mommy) on the clap-along "Lose You." Daly worked with Bognanno to emphasize her sonic attributes in a very radio-ready way. That assistance helped build a song like “Change Your Mind,” a contemplation on what could have and what still could be done to save a sinking relationship, into one of the catchiest, momentum-building songs on the record. As if the next chapter in a narrative, “Lose You” sorrowfully looks at the drowned relationship and features the heaviest weighted line, “Time’s just a useless measurement of pain.”

    Okay, so maybe it is not always that optimistic of a record. But the assuredness in Bognanno’s voice oozes power and confidence and paints an image that she will not only come out on top but will be better for it. She thoroughly owns it on the aggressive brit-pop banger “Hard to Love,” singing “If you think you could love me now / Just wait until you see this out / You’ll be gone so quick I won’t say goodbye.” Sounds like a fitting attitude in a city with the adopted slogan "No one likes us and we don't care."

    If you didn’t grab a ticket to see her open the blockbuster sold-out Met show with Franz Ferdinand and Pixies this Friday, June 9th, don’t fret, Bognanno and company are coming back on September 23rd to headline the First Unitarian Church with the fantastic and eccentric Wombo.

    Review by Shepard Ritzen

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