A decade since shooting to fame on the X Factor as the first contestant to perform an original song, Lucy Spraggan is having a busy year. Not only has she just celebrated the release of her debut book Process – which landed at #2 in the Sunday Times Bestsellers chart – but last Friday saw her release her seventh album into the wild. Titled Balance, it’s one of Lucy’s most reflective and honest releases yet.
Lucy announced the album back in December 2022, alongside the release of its piano led title track, which boasts some of her strongest vocals yet. Written after a session with her therapist, ‘Balance’ tells the story of Lucy taking the time to consider what she wanted from life and most importantly, finding her own balance. Other tracks released in the run up to the album’s release included ‘Everything Changes’, ‘OCD’, ‘Bodies’ and ‘Empire’ – all of which are incredibly personable. The heartfelt ‘Everything Changes’ for example sees Lucy look back on the past decade, while ‘Bodies’ reflects upon her journey of working through image issues and learning how to build a healthy relationship with her body.
When it comes to filler tracks, Lucy’s albums have none as she pours her heart and soul into every single song, touching on various topics close to her heart – from her personal experience of being diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in ‘OCD’, to the difficulties of overcoming imposter syndrome so that she can enjoy her well earned success in ‘Underdog’. Some of the topics tackled by Lucy are incredibly difficult and tend to be evaded within the media, but she’s unafraid to explore them and her transparency continues to serve her well – from ‘Cocaine’, which appears to tell the tale of a relationship breakdown due to drugs, to ‘Caroline’. A hauntingly beautiful tribute to Lucy’s late friend, Caroline Flack, ‘Caroline’ addresses the scrutiny that comes with life in the public eye.
‘Underdog’ isn’t the only track on the album that refers to Lucy’s career and the uplifting ‘Empire’ documents her journey as a musician, touring different places and building a connection with her fans that most musicians can only dream of. Balance well and truly showcases Lucy’s strength and growth and not just in her working life – with lyrics about chasing her own dreams and living her life, the poignant ‘Seasick’ is the perfect example of how far she’s come in her personal life.
If you’ve seen Lucy perform live, you’ll know that audience participation is a huge part of her sets and it’s easy to see which tracks are going to attract those mass singalongs – two being ‘Not Another Travelling Song’ and the album’s penultimate track, ‘Manchester’. Though both boast huge choruses, it’s the latter that shines brightest – a love letter to Manchester, the upbeat track places its focus on the inclusivity and community vibe that the City is renowned for. Last but certainly not least is ‘Cost of Living’ – a melodious track that features a combination of vocals and spoken word from Lucy, as she runs through the shared experience of being a human being in the 21st century. Matching the vibes of Lucy’s second album Join the Club, the track perfectly captures not just Lucy’s uniqueness and creativity, but also her authentic personality.
With her debut novel flying off the shelves and her seventh album storming the UK Album Chart, it’s safe to say that 2023 is Lucy’s year. Laced with the honesty and authenticity that sets her work aside from that of other artists, Balance is definitely a record that she should be proud of.