It didn’t take long for Lucy Spraggan’s new album, Choices, to shoot to the top of the iTunes Pre-Order chart but, if you’ve followed Lucy’s journey from her days as a cheeky Northerner singing about tea and toast on X-Factor, her ever-rising popularity should come as no surprise. However, while her career has gone from strength to strength, her personal life has not always been as rosy and, the release of her sixth album finds her reflecting back on a troubled twelve months.

Single for the first time since her teens and living a life of sobriety alongside battles with mental health, these tumultuous troubling times have been channelled into some of her most honest material to date. The haunting “Sober” is self-explanatory but it’s heartbreaking hearing the instantly likeable Spraggan pondering about being “someone the people like.” It also goes to show that for all the sold-out gigs, festival appearances, and chart-topping albums, these things come at a price. “Heartbreak” is another song that finds Lucy reflecting on mistakes and lost friendships but with song-titles like that and “You’ve Let Yourself Down,” Choices was never going to be a record you’d stick on at a party.

From the moment the Sheffield songwriter walked onto the X-Factor stage, it was impossible not to fall in love with her honest storytelling and even now, through some of the darker moments in her life, that honesty still shines through in her fantastic use of words. Bad decisions, fuck-ups, depression, Spraggan lays it all out for the world to see on Choices. Musically and lyrically though, from the above-referenced cheeky Northerner singing about getting drunk on Sambucca to the sombre one singing about losing all her friends, it’s like comparing chalk and cheese.

From the opening notes of “Flowers,” you didn’t need to be a genius to work out that musically Choices was going to head down a much different route to some of the material that made her a household name. It shouldn’t come as a surprise though because this is an album written by someone who has been through the wars but one that, if her stream of feelgood social media posts are any indication, has battled through to the other side and is winning her fights.

By the time the album reaches “Choices (Don’t Be Afraid),” Lucy is heading in a more positive route and when she sings the line “don’t be afraid of being you,” you get the feeling that not only is it a positive message to any fans sharing similar struggles, but it’s also a line she has repeated to herself many, many times over the last year. With this newfound positivity, Lucy has the world at her feet and, judging by the fact that Choices has already shot to the top of the charts weeks before release, there is plenty for the Sheffield songwriter to smile about.

Choices Track Listing:

1. Flowers
2. Roots
3. Sober
4. Run To The Hills
5. Heartbreak
6. If I Had A God
7. I Spent A Night In The Desert
8. You’ve Let Yourself Down
9. Animal
10. Wild
11. Run
12. Choices (Don’t Be Afraid)
13. Why Don’t We Start From Here

Run Time: 40:57
Release Date: February 26, 2021
Record Label: Cooking Vinyl

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.