BY Chris BrysonPublished Mar 24, 2023

Coming of age can be crushing. For many, there's often much in transitioning from adolescence to adulthood that they'd rather leave behind. But for DEBBY FRIDAY, life's disillusionment, changing tides and thick muck are worth honouring; they're for holding onto and elevating as much as learning from and illuminating the dark, devious corners.

Born in Nigeria, FRIDAY grew up in Montreal, a city whose nightlife she became immersed in as both DJ and "club rat." Drawn to rave culture's community, self-composed rules and praise of alternative voices, it was transformative — but the scene's hedonistic side brought challenges, where with certain pleasures came self-destruction. After an intense personal bout, a switch flipped, taking FRIDAY down a path of sobriety, creativity, and inner resolve.

She moved to Vancouver (and eventually Toronto) where she completed an MFA program that provided the freedom to explore her broadening multidisciplinary interests. Self-produced from the start, FRIDAY released her 2018 debut EP BITCHPUNK — an aggressive collision of fury, grit, the sinister and sexual over earth-shaking, heavily distorted industrial-rap and electropunk — to enthusiastic reception, leading to heightened devotion to her craft. FRIDAY's follow-up EP DEATH DRIVE covered similar territory while pushing beyond the bounds of her past work. At every turn, it seems FRIDAY, despite still finding her way, has had an instinctual vision in sight. 

GOOD LUCK, FRIDAY's debut LP on Sub Pop, makes this clearer than ever, grounding duelling flames of love and longing, perseverance and grace, and life and death in genre-fluid experimentalism, co-produced with Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh. Surging bass and electro-shock blasts whip the album into motion on opener "GOOD LUCK." With a lurch reminiscent of Run the Jewels' "Thieves!" but with a more chaotic pulse and some bootstrap-pulling chants of encouragement, the song finds FRIDAY spitting "Don't you fuck it up / Give it what you got / Get it while it's hot" — it's one hardened motivational banger. The ravey "HOT LOVE" stabs shrill synths through thick, wobbly bass as FRIDAY depicts a dizzying, combustible love and its karmic entanglements.

"I GOT IT" (featuring Uñas) is a sweaty, cocky acid house party starter of piston rhythms and gurgling-gut bass, while the triple r's of "HEARTBREAKERRR" are purrs that embody its dub throb, salacious heat and X-rated innuendos before descending into blown-out noise and deep, deathly groans. The skulking bass, whirling guitar and clanking chains on "WHAT A MAN" cast an ominous backdrop for FRIDAY's stentorian wail as she winds potent imagery through more traditional-sounding rhyme structures, utilizing the power of the steady, epic build. On "LET U DOWN," an unsettled atmosphere gives weight to tales of a sinner's life, with the ghosts in its shadows making FRIDAY's admissions more gripping. On GOOD LUCK, one of FRIDAY's greatest feats is her ability to imbue her music with more tension-based dynamics and increasingly compelling, emotionally driven drama. 

The album's notes describe FRIDAY's long-term study of philosophy, psychology and astrology, and her desire to "be in dialogue with the darkness." As an artist, she likely knows of the growth and power possible in this kind of exchange, expressing its dimensions across GOOD LUCK. On "SO HARD  TO TELL," a metallic clangour feint drops her into a pool of bubbly pads, wave-riding backing vocals and a laid back beat. Locking into a soothing R&B-pop sway, FRIDAY sees the dangers of indulgence and turbulent emotions. "Is this heaven or hell?" she asks, and when the title hits, the uncertainty feels tender and revelatory, a softness found in getting to know oneself. 

"SAFE" is chilling. Reverb-laden, distortion-draped, with FRIDAY's voice heavily modulated into the haunted Jae Matthews-esque bellow that ended "HEARTBREAKERRR," she's mournful, wondering if someone's "still near, still safe." In the track's sonic haze and emotional dread, FRIDAY's clarity emerges like a confident, complex, yet troubled voice of reason — throughout GOOD LUCK, FRIDAY twists perspectives and injects ambiguous poetics, adding lyrical and conceptual layers. "PLUTO BABY," while being a staccato pleasure parade, retreads themes and leaves the weakest impact, but euphoric closer "WAKE UP" compensates, gliding spectral, hyperpop vocals through kinetic, damaged rhythms, a final whirl before reality's return.

Holding space for FRIDAY's lost and confused youth (with a movie accompanying the album), GOOD LUCK is a wild and wonderful homage. With standout songwriting, arrangements and production, GOOD LUCK's fearlessness feels earned and nomadically spirited. Like the glow emanating from FRIDAY on the LP's cover, she is the light that will guide her through. Embracing her past while looking forward, on GOOD LUCK, FRIDAY makes her own.
(Sub Pop)

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