Lucky Day’s second EP (II) kicks off with a funky assault on the eardrums. Taking a page from the Ginuwine playbook, the opening song ‘Karma’ feels almost like a homage to ‘Pony’. With a modulated vocal sample and a driving bass the song is an upbeat expose of a new relationship. Full of sex, desire and a good amount of withholding, Day riffs on being wanted so vociferously – that his partner keeps coming back around. With some well-established RnB cliches;

‘The curves on her body got me burnin’ through rubbers (Uh)
So good, we go zero to sixty
I leave and she miss me
Now she wanna kiss me, whoa’

‘She was cool with them shoes and a new bag
Now she wanna keep me to herself, won’t do that’

Marking himself out as hyper-sexualised and confident sets the scene for the rest of the record as this established character riffs on a variety of romantic situations. The second track on the record ‘Paint it’ bears witness to the trend of pitched up vocals. They sit atop the funky and almost faultless guitar and organ stylings with a touch more pop than the previous song. The influence of Jai and A.K. Paul’s trademark synth and guitar aesthetic is clear and well managed here. Using soft, simplistic drums Lucky turns a relatively hyper song into a more laid-back head bopping anthem. Heavy synth lines bring the chorus out until a different vocal distortion gives the bridge section a brooding and soothing style. Suddenly Lucky begins emceeing and opens up his repertoire. There is nothing extraordinary here, Lucky’s rapping styling seems to draw from the same wellspring as LA artists such as GoldLink and anderson.paak, a smooth vocal delivery without too much disruption. It’s smooth and it works perfectly in the space he’s created.

Veering into sticky territory ‘Real Games’ sees Lucky pick up a fooling-around situation that seems to be on the verge of something a little more serious. Full of images, this song solidifies the funky core of the records sound. It has a strut and attitude that exudes as Lucky lists exactly why this relationship was an almost and not a definite. The horns on this song explode in a blossoming of celebration and in many ways the upbeat nature of the record is an observance of Lucky’s confidence, even as he bemoans;

‘I saw something real, fuck what you saw, baby
I saw something real, fuck what you saw, baby’

He opens up a little vulnerability that does nothing but add to his effortless demeanour;

‘Girl, this heart’s too close to breakin’ (Breakin’, girl)
You got what it takes to fix it (Oh, oh, oh)
I think that you’d like to see it broke (Go broke)’

A quick verse over a simple bridge section gives the listener a little break and the same lyrical stylings can be found here as in the previous song. This middle section ends with a pitched down repetition of the hook and a slow fade out. The ending of the song feels uncommon for the record but it flows directly into the most introspective track.

‘Misunderstood’ is the closer, the statement of Lucky’s emotionality that is hinted at throughout this entire time. Finally, over a slow brushed snare, piano and some atmospheric textures Lucky croons;

‘We ain’t gotta be awkward together, girl
Maybe we’re better misunderstood
I been tryna be clear in my feelings, girl
Maybe we’re better misunderstood’

The songs slowly grows into something like a late-night ballad with a trumpet weaving in and out and settling into the song nearer the end. Extra vocal melodies and some layering offer the song a weighty power. Lucky, loose here and unstructured by the rigid funk of the previous three songs intones upon the unbreachable confusion that always besets lovers. While he sounds somewhat defeated, his confidence and self-belief remains evident, this is definitely the same character who was ‘burning through rubbers’ just minutes ago. He’s tried to be clear. It hasn’t worked. Maybe it would just be easier not to be trying to understand each other but just;

‘Frightened fuckin’, fuckin’ frightened
That’s the way we love it, damn, I love you
Playin’ games just to get a reaction, pushin’ buttons’

The New Orleans native hasn’t strayed too far from the formula on this record but his sound is crystal clear. Crisp production and a clear throughline of character. It’s hard not to draw the comparison with Ginuwine. He throws his voice in similar ways, though admittedly the more contemporary influences of Frank Ocean, BJ the Chicago Kid and Bryson Tiller are also here to hear. There is III coming soon and it will be curious to witness the development of this young, confident artist.

Words

Hamza Beg