Review: Lucy Spraggan – Today Was a Good Day

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Lucy Spraggan’s fourth album (fifth including Top Room at the Zoo) Today Was a Good Day comes with even more force than those previous – ranking 12th in the Official Top 40. Having released her first duet, ‘Stick the Kettle On’ featuring Scouting for Girls, and finally gaining airtime on BBC Radio 2, this seems to be the rising of a somewhat unnoticed star. Despite failing to make it far on X Factor 2012 due to a throat infection and mixed opinions from judges who preferred mouldable artists, Spraggan refused to let this end her career; instead using it as inspiration to find success whilst keeping her integrity.

Though reminiscent of her past albums, Today Was a Good Day showcases Spraggan’s growth vocally, stylistically and thematically. Greater production quality is particularly evident when comparing ‘Stick the Kettle On’ (September 2018) with the rest of the new album (April 2019). Opposed to her familiar acoustic style, featuring songs about her struggles with mental health backed by guitar, Today Was a Good Dayis far more ambitious in its use of electronic beats, vocalising and violin. Despite Spraggan venturing outside her usual style in her previous son ‘Modern Day Frankenstein’ (December 2017), with use of techno beats, songs such as ‘Love is the Best Revenge’ express a possible new route for the acoustic artist. Rather than sing of her battle with mental health negatively, this album instead plays more as a beacon of hope, beginning the album with ‘Breathe’ – a song about battling fears and accepting that “I’ll never learn from my mistakes, but I’ll give you mine and hope you learn from them”.

Married for almost three years, Spraggan’s newest album seems somewhat a debut to her wife Georgina. ‘Today Was a Good Day,’ baring the album’s title, describes that Spraggan’s “favourite place is when you’re next to me”, allowing listeners to reminisce on their loved ones whilst absorbing the beautiful violin and gentle guitar plucking to support the equally beautiful lyrics. ‘Thanks for Choosing me’, a folk-style head-bobbing song, comparable to Jack Johnson’s ‘Banana Pancakes’ musically, is a very wholesome song. Throughout, Spraggan’s smile is audible whilst she mocks her bad habits such as “leaving socks on the floor” and failing to share the quilt, but thanking her wife for loving and choosing her nonetheless. Although Spraggan is openly LGBT, and the album sings of her wife and previous female lovers, she does not feel the need to explicitly state her sexuality. This encourages LGBT relationships to be normalised within society, rather than highlighted as being different, which is definitely a positivestyle to encourage.

Despite there being a greater number of happier songs on Today Was a Good Day, it wouldn’t be in true Spraggan style if there weren’t also some tear-jerkers. Whether or not you’re a dog lover, ‘The Waiting Room’ is sure to pull at your heartstrings as Spraggan tells the tale of having to put down her childhood dog and best friend, stating that “I know I can’t be without you”. However, it is her song ‘Dinner’s Ready’ which resonated most within myself. Illustrating her nostalgia surrounding the days of living at home, seeing her mother every day and being told to “hurry up, don’t be late, it’s on the side, your dinner’s ready”. For those who have recently moved out of their childhood home and had close relations with their parents, an ache is bound to rise in your chest listening to this melancholy track.

Overall, Spraggan has shown immense growth in Today Was a Good Day; sticking to familiar themes and styles whilst embracing new ones toexemplifyher escalating talents. Embracing her roots in ‘Lucky Stars’ which sounds extremely like ‘Lighthouse’ on her first album, and ‘Don’t Play This on the Radio’ that mocks her lack of airplay in a folk-pop-style, similar to much of her initial work. This album is bound to encourage a lively audience at her upcoming gigs happening this month, with many of the songs slowly down in the bridge to then rise for the final chorus – hyping the crowd before she stops, as she does between most songs, to recount her headspace, situation or inspiration for the upcoming song and have banter with her loving fans. Whilst many artists lose themselves whilst caving into what the industry desires, Lucy Spraggan is a prime example of someone who refused this fate and accepted the consequences of taking her own route. Today Was a Good Dayis a raw, open and honest album with humour, heartbreak and love intertwined that truly expresses Spraggan’s continuous improvements as a non-mainstream artist. For more information on the meaning behind her newest release, head over to Spraggan’s Facebook where she tells of the stories of some of the songs featured on this narrative album.

Today Was a Good Day is available now via Cooking Vinyl Ltd.

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