Album Of The Week

Album Of The Week: Debby Friday GOOD LUCK

Sub Pop
Sub Pop

Debby Friday is going to make sure you remember her name. She has a habit of referring to herself in the third person: elegant (“Lady Friday”), imposing (“It’s Miss Friday/ But only if you nasty like that”), unhinged (“Freaky Friday/ Debby Doomsday/ Debby Heat”), and always a presence. She’s a brand, even if you haven’t heard of her yet. You’d be forgiven for that — but not for long. Her debut album GOOD LUCK bristles with brash confidence, sometimes undercut by inevitably human insecurities, but Debby Friday is mostly larger than life, a cartoonish persona that’s charming, menacing, electrifying.

The artist that goes by Debby Friday was born in Nigeria and grew up in Canada, bopping around different cities before landing in her for-now home base of Toronto. She came up in the clubs and started out as a DJ but quickly branched out into making music of her own. Her debut EP came out in 2018, and it was called BITCHPUNK: a sort of genre signifier to label her aggressive, domineering sound. Another EP, DEATH DRIVE, followed the next year. Both early releases had their moments, but neither could prepare you for the sheer ambition GOOD LUCK.

Her first full-length is sweaty and determined, eager to deliver on its teeth-chattering beats with a feverish intensity. The influences are obvious, but the ways that Debby Friday crashes those sounds together are not. There are healthy dashes of Nine Inch Nails and Death Grips in her industrial gothic thump; there’s a dose of Crystal Castles in the shattered glass beat of “HOT LOVE.” You might be reminded on Beyoncé’s recent foray into the pulse-racing annals of house music on the opening title track, or the strangled guitars of Yves Tumor on “WHAT A MAN.” She spits and twists into raunchy rap on “HEARTBREAKERRR,” launches herself into sloppy religious ecstasy on “PLUTO BABY.”

There’s nothing necessarily groundbreaking about the sonics of GOOD LUCK, but its executed so well. Every one of its shadows have contours. Debby Friday has it all: songs that make you feel like that bitch, songs to wallow in, songs to lose your dignity to. Her voice is versatile and elastic — sometimes it channels disco detachment, other times it takes the form of a vicious snarl. In between the cockiness, a more conflicted figure emerges: “I’ve been a bad girl/ Oh, all my life,” she sings on “LET U DOWN,” a song that cycles through different perspectives, all downbeat and downtrodden. “I’ve been a mean lover, I’ve been a dream crusher/ I know I let you down.”

And I’ve been holding out on you, saving the best for last. The clear standout on GOOD LUCK — and the song that I think might make Debby Friday a star — is “SO HARD TO TELL,” the one where she ditches her music’s spikiness and softens her sound into a hypnotic, intoxicating loop. Pulled apart by forces beyond her control, Debby Friday navigates the wild swings of a soul that’s never content. “You’re just a young girl/ All alone by yourself/ In the city/ Act like you don’t need help,” she sings. “Honey, honey/ Is this heaven or hell?/ When it gets like this/ It’s so hard to tell.” The song is soothing and immensely catchy, and though it doesn’t contain any of GOOD LUCK’s in-your-face sonics, it’s just as tenacious and bold.

GOOD LUCK is out 3/24 via Sub Pop.

Other albums of note out this week:
• Lana Del Rey’s Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd
• Depeche Mode’s Memento Mori
• JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown’s Scaring The Hoes Vol 1
• 03 Greedo’s Halfway There
• Kele’s The Flames Pt. 2
• Liturgy’s 93696
• Black Country, New Road’s Live At Bush Hall
• Purling Hiss’ Drag On Girard
• Lankum’s False Lankum
• The HIRS Collective’s We’re Still Here
• Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily’s Love In Exile
• Caroline Rose’s The Art Of Forgetting
• Fall Out Boy’s So Much (For) Stardust
• The Bouncing Souls’ Ten Stories High
• Nickel Creek’s Celebrants
• Yours Are The Only Ears’ We Know The Sky
• Zorn’s Zorn
• Meg Myers’ TZIA
• Connections’ Cool Change
• August Burns Red’s Death Below
• YoshiduO’s To The Forest To Live A Truer Life
• Endless, Nameless’s Living Without
• Dom Flemons’ Traveling Wildfire
• Ov Sulfur’s The Burden Ov Faith
• Lucinda Chua’s Yian
• Zack Rosen’s SYZYGY
• Luke Combs’ Gettin’ Old
• Cécile McLorin Salvant’s Mélusine
• Richard Norris’ Deep Listening 2019’s 2022
• styrofoam & the go find’s styrofoam & the go find present the empathy exams
• The Reds, Pinks & Purples’ The Town That Cursed Your Name
• Jenny Conlee’s Tides: Pieces For Accordion And Piano
• Sophie B. Hawkins’ Free Myself
• Semaphore’s I Need A Reason To Stay
• Codefendants’s This Is Crime Wave
• Jimin’s FACE
• Unlearn & MP Shaw’s Secret Listener
• Angel Bat Dawid’s Requiem For Jazz
• Noble Rot’s Heavenly Bodies, Repetition, Control
• 6LACK’s Since I Have A Lover
• Kool Keith x Real Bad Man’s Serpent
• The Blood Of Heroes’ Nine Cities
• Navy Blue’s Ways Of Knowing
• Telos’ Delude
• Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon 50th anniversary box set
• Elton John’s Honky Château (50th Anniversary Edition)
• The Kinks’s The Journey’s Part 1
• Sharon Van Etten’s Tramp (Anniversary Edition)
• Rosalía & Rauw Alejandro’s RR EP
• Softcult’s See You In The Dark EP
• Heartworms’s A Comforting Notion EP
• Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra’s Plays Well With Others EP
• Yaya Bey’s Exodus The North Star EP
• Eaves Wilder’s Hookey EP

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