By – Jackie Lo
For fans of Wednesday, Swearin’, The Breeders, Screaming Females, Palehound, Nirvana, Soccer Mommy
I’ve been looking forward to listening to the new Bully album all year because Alicia Bognanno has always written songs that connected to me on a deep and personal level. I was instantly hooked from the first listen of “Trying” off 2015’s Feels Like “Been praying for my period all week/And relief that I just can’t see/I question everything/My focus, my figure my sexuality/And how much it matters or why it would mean anything” to “Every Tradition” off 2020’s Sugaregg: “It’s like pressure to have a baby/When I don’t want one in my body/You say my mind is gonna change one day/But I felt this way forever some things/Stay the same, I stay the same”.
She’s raw. She’s honest. She’s vulnerability wrapped in a raspy growl.
Bully’s Lucky For You has all the things that you love about a Bully album (great guitars, hooks you can sing along to, songs I want to listen to repeatedly) but this album feels different…in a good way. Yes, it’s a little more pop sounding. You find she’s singing a little more than yelling. Yes, it’s a larger, more polished sound. She’s opened the process to be more collaborative by working with J.T. Daly who produced and mixed the album…a task that has previously been solely hers. But it’s more than that. It feels like she’s found a voice she’s never used before, like she’s pouring her heart out as if her life depended on it and I think this is her best album to date because of it.
One of the major themes throughout this album is the loss of her dog Mezzi, who died in March 2022 and had been her faithful companion for 13 years. You hear it in the upbeat pop anthem “Days Move Slow”, “Sometimes when I zone out at night/I forget you’re out of sight/Like living before you were gone”, and “A Wonderful Life”, “My hearts breaking on the bathroom floor/Begging for time I want a little more/I miss you waiting outside the door”, to the title of the album Lucky For You that she attributed to realizing how lucky she was to have Mezzi.
Having just lost my best friend (Buster) of 12 years in August 2022, I wasn’t prepared for how emotional this album would make me. The love and profound grief, the confusion and realization, knowing that truly loving something more than yourself is a beautiful gift and the pain you feel in their loss is well worth the love that they give. I teared up as I unfolded the record to the inner photo of her and Mezzi snuggling and nodded in agreement with each “Somethings gotta change, I know” on “Days Move Slow”.
I get it. I love it. I didn’t know it… but I fucking needed it.
Alicia tackles gender stereotypes and society norms with one of my favorite tracks, “Hard to Love ” that feels like The Breeders and Fugazi had a lovechild. She struggles with her sobriety in the opening track “All I Do” and collaborates with another heavy hitter, Soccer Mommy on “Lose You” that’s verses sound as if Smash Mouth was cool with a chorus that absolutely kicks you in the mouth. She ends the album by landing a 1,2 punch for women’s rights with “Ms. America ” and “All This Noise”. The opening line of Ms. America “I guess everything falls apart/Stole my pride and you broke my heart/ Ms. America’s been calling, she’s been waiting on the line/Wondering how you could respect her/And then take her back in time/Just to break news” had me yelling “fuck yes” at my stereo.
This album is like peeking at your best friend’s journal while rooting for them, nodding in agreement with the passion, the angst, the love, the grief, and the confusion because we all feel it. It makes you want to get your guitar out and write a damn song. Lucky For You takes you on a ride that I truly wasn’t expecting, even as a Bully fan, and one that I’ll happily take over and over again.
Available at a records store near you, and in Birmingham at SEASICK RECORDS!!!!
Written by: Jackie Lo
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