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With his sophomore album Candydrip, all the world wanted from Lucky Daye was to see him whisk us off our feet with another captivating project. His 2019 debut album Painted was praised from top to bottom by those who enjoyed his serenading vocals on efforts like “Love You Too Much” and “Floods,” as well as folks who caught a groove and danced the night away with “Extra” and “Karma.” Painted was much more than a fan-favorite that was safeguarded by R&B lovers, as is what often happens with stellar projects in the genre. It earned the New Orleans native attention from critics as it landed multiple Grammy nominations at the 2020 award show – including one for Best R&B Album. Painted essentially cemented Daye as next up in the genre that so many are quick to call “dead.”
As Daye prepared to release Candydrip, it became clear that a change in direction was in order. Its cover art portrayed the singer from the chest up dripping in some honey-like substance, an image inspired by The Ohio Players’ 1975 album Honey. It’s a stark contrast from the artistic portrait of Lucky Daye that appears on the cover of Painted. With this visual change comes one for the sonics of Candydrip. Where Painted saw Lucky pop champagne in celebration with his lover, Candydrip slyly dangles handcuffs in front of them with dripping infatuation. Painted dwells on innocent daytime fun and pure love while Candydrip finds life in the sultry atmosphere of nighttime romance.
While the aforementioned albums may fall on opposite sides of the spectrum, they’re both undeniable evidence of Lucky Daye’s sprawling versatility. Candydrip does a great job of flaunting his talents and how he can pretty much do everything and do it well. Whether it’s the funk-inspired “Feels Like” or the traditional R&B beauty of “Guess” or even the alternative R&B-leaning “Intermission,” Lucky’s musical pockets are infinite, and for him, it’s just a matter of picking one to get into. Additionally, while this versatility might cause others to do too much on a given project, Lucky keeps things cohesive and tightly wrapped.
On Candydrip, Lucky Daye yearns for intimacy. The possibility of its arrival through a new lover presents a thrill for him while its continued return from his current partner keeps him on a high. “F*ckin’ Sound” sees Lucky put up blinders to the world as he begs his companion to satisfy his overbearing craving for their body and the passionate interaction that comes with it. “God Body,” which concludes with a slick-talking verse from Smino, uses the ultimate compliment to simplify Lucky’s attempt to get his hand into the cookie jar. While Lucky’s contribution to the song is strong, it’s Smino’s verse that best highlights their ultimate goal. “Roll up on you in the morning like I do my weed,” he raps. “I know what I want and you more like a need.”
For every uphill trek to glory, there’s a downward spiral that marks a return to square one. An excellent example comes with the project’s lead single, “Over.” Here, the flare and undeterred spirit of Lucky Daye vanishes and is replaced by frustration and annoyance. The record recounts an on-again-off-again love that finds Daye consistently surrendering to a woman who can’t make up her mind between being with him or moving on. He impresses, dazzles, and sweet-talks the ladies when he’s in command of everything, but issues tend to arrive for him when he’s forced to wait on others. Finally, when that decision is made, and his attempt at love comes to an end, as it does on “Used To Be,” Daye – just like anyone else – is left to sulk in sadness as his partner’s departure stings a bit too much for him. “A dying rose in the winter / I’m holdin’ on every way I can,” he beckons. “Tell me, is this only just me / By my lonely.”
Candydrip covers Lucky Daye’s insistence on satisfying his nagging sweet tooth towards romance. More times than not, he’s a slick-suit-wearing man who knows just what to say to earn his way as he does on “Guess,” “Feels Like,” and “F*ckin’ Sound.” There are moments when he does a little too much, like the candy-themed “Candy Drip (Interlude)” where he rattles off a raunchy poem that uses candy brands for lustful puns. However, Candydrip concludes with Lucky returning to his original form with heartfelt numbers like “Fever,” “Cherry Forest,” and “Ego.” Lucky Daye has this generation’s R&B crown as he’s made a great case to possess it with each release. All we can do now is watch him shine and thrive in the spotlight as he’s continuously done in his career.
Candydrip is out now via RCA/Keep Cool. You can stream it here.