May 17, The Best of Luck Club by Alex Lahey
Genre: Pop punk, with a ’90s grunge flavor
Total Number of Tracks: 10
Songs you might know:
– “Don’t Be so Hard On Yourself”
My prior relationship with the album: Earlier this year, I discovered Alex Lahey through her debut album, I Love You Like a Brother (read that review here). I had a positive opinion of it, but was disappointed to learn she’s only put out one album thus far. Lucky for me, Lahey’s sophomore effort, The Best of Luck Club was on the imminent horizon! I preordered it, and started playing it on repeat as soon as it came. In the few months between first hearing the album and writing this post, it’s become a go-to bad day album. I’ve even acquired tickets to see her in concert in the near future.
My impression this time around: This is one of the most successful sophomore albums I’ve heard in a while. It maintains all the charm of Lahey’s debut and I think it’s safe to say pretty much anyone who liked I Love You Like a Brother would also enjoy The Best of Luck Club. Yet at the same time, Lahey also proves herself capable of growth. While some of the angsty mid ’00s pop punk vibes are still here with songs like “I Don’t Get Invited to Parties Anymore” and “Misery Guts,” we also see a softer side on “Unspoken History” and the downright adorable “Isabella.” My main criticism of I Love You Like a Brother was a lack of dynamic contrast, so this is great to see from Lahey. It gives me hope that she’ll be an artist with staying power rather than a one trick pony who runs out of good material after another album or two.
I also think there’s a great mix of love-at-first-listen songs like “I Don’t Get Invited to Parties Anymore” and “Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself” as well as sleeper songs that get better with more listens. “Interior Demeanor” is a straight up grunge song but the lyrics explore going to therapy and what Lahey has learned about herself from her therapy sessions. I don’t think it fully struck me how special a topic that is for a rock song at first, perhaps because the chorus is relatively simple and the verses are where the real lyrical magic happens. It’s this mix that allows The Best of Luck Club to be an album that doesn’t get boring after multiple listens, but still makes an excellent first impression too.
I think where Lahey has really unlocked the true secret to success is how her songs sound specific to her experiences, but yet they’re also easy to relate to. We’ve all been stressed about work even if most of us have never been musicians on tour. We’ve all asked “Am I Doing It Right?” as Lahey does in one song title. That ability to tell her unique story in a way that’s relatable to everybody is not easy, but it tends to be one of the things that makes great songwriting stand out from the crowd.
All of this culminates in an album that can commiserate with me on a bad day. It reminds you that whatever sort of challenges you might be going through, those challenges are not unique to you. But unlike many sad albums in the pop punk space, there’s a healthy amount of optimism too. “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” is a prime example of a song that is happy without being an escapist denial of reality. I thoroughly appreciate Lahey’s ability to balance realism and vulnerability with uplifting, empowering messages, and I’m already excited to hear what the next album sounds like.
Who would enjoy it? I think anyone that listens to rock or its various subgenres should give this one a try. At the same time, I can also see The Best of Luck Club being an album that helps non-rock fans get into rock just based on the relatability of the lyrics.