Music Reviews

Bully Redefine Sonic Boundaries With LUCKY FOR YOU


Genre: Grunge, Alternative Rock

Favorite Tracks:  “How Will I Know,” “Lose You” (feat. Soccer Mommy), “Change Your Mind”

Bully’s 2020 LP SUGAREGG functioned sort of like a debut. It was the first Bully album Alicia Bognanno recorded without any bandmates, something of a reset for the Nashville musician. Trying desperately to avoid the sophomore slump, Bognanno treats Bully’s fourth album, LUCKY FOR YOU, like a make or break second LP. The majority of her latest runs slower than SUGAREGG; it’s tamer, with Bognanno spending more time singing hooks than growling them. While it might be less immediately gripping than her last album, LUCKY FOR YOU is clearly a more confident take on that sound, exploring new corners of alt rock with ease and self-assuredness.

Released well before LUCKY FOR YOU had even been announced, standout single “Lose You” features a guest spot from Sophie Allison of Soccer Mommy. The pairing makes sense—both are leading a current wave of ‘90s-inspired indie rockers. “Lose You” shows what makes Bully stand out in this moment: Bognanno keeps the grit and edge of grunge without ever shirking the melody of pop, embracing the sneer and snarl of punk without sacrificing the airiness of shoegaze. It demonstrates all of this in less than three minutes, from its crunchy opening lick and Bognanno’s jagged delivery to its soaring hook and blurry bridge—it’s a blend that made like minded ’90s torchbearers Momma and their album HOUSEHOLD NAME such a hit as well.

Open in Spotify

Bognanno really taps into that grunge well on album highlights “How Will I Know” and the fiery “All I Do,” all thick, crackling riffs and call-and-response vocals. Most of LUCKY FOR YOU is more measured, though; nothing here really approaches “Every Tradition” or even “Trying” in terms of raw energy. By no means is LUCKY FOR YOU Bully’s “soft” album—“A Wonderful Life” aims for the rafters with a Springsteen-sized riff, “A Love Profound” is the fuzziest Bully’s ever gotten, and the aforementioned “All I Do” opens the record with the force of a freight train. But the album ebbs and flows, like on the subdued “Ms. America,” comprising just vocals and guitar, the rasp in Bognanno’s voice is all the adornment she needs. The closest Bully comes to true blistering rage is on sub-two-minute closer “All This Noise,” the song most sure to satisfy the day one stans.

The single biggest sonic change here is how much stronger Bognanno’s melodies have gotten. Every Bully record has catchy tracks—songs that’ll lodge themselves in your head after a week of listening. But on LUCKY FOR YOU, they jump out at you, begging to be shouted along with after just a listen or two. Sometimes they’re simple, like on “Hard to Love,” when she howls out the title repeatedly, and sometimes they’re deceptively wordy, like on the twisty cuts “Change Your Mind” or “Days Move Slow.” The latter song, a eulogy for Bognanno’s beloved dog Mezzi, features one of her best couplets in its chorus: “There’s flowers on your grave that grow / and something’s gotta change I know.” LUCKY FOR YOU is a change for Bully, to be sure, but just like those flowers keep growing, so has Bognanno, and the result is her tightest record yet. It’s another essential Bandcamp cop, in a catalog already packed with them. 

Zac Djamoos
Zac Djamoos is an Editor for The Alternative whose work you've also read on and Treble Zine!

    MAY DECEMBER Is Going to Give Film TikTok a Brain Aneurysm

    Previous article

    Track Premiere: Wax Jaw’s “Checking Me Out”

    Next article


    Comments are closed.

    Free ebooks Library zlib project