In Lost in Melody, Friday chooses to wear his pain on his sleeves. He expresses himself in simple words…
By Hope Ibiale
Today, American singer, songwriter and music producer, Fridayy, occupies a unique space in the American music industry. Francis “Fridayy” LeBlanc grew up playing instruments in the church choir, influencing his love for music. Since 2014, the artiste has been releasing music professionally, and since his debut, he has worked with DJ Khaled on the God Did album and was also credited as a writer on Chris Brown’s Breezy.
Fridayy, who is currently signed to Def Jam Recordings, has released songs like “Don’t Give up on Me.” Fridayy has taken things up a notch by releasing his debut EP, Lost in Melody which, according to him, takes “A look into real-life stories.” Fridayy further revealed that, “this EP can relate to almost anyone who is looking for that inspiration or motivation no matter what you’re going through in life.” Fridayy isn’t trying to make grand statements or script avant-garde essays; he tries to reflect other people’s lives in his stories and offer as much motivation as his music can.
Fridayy’s Lost in Melody houses one feature and showcases his production ability. The project opener, “Blessings,” sees Fridayy counting his blessings and reminiscing on days he couldn’t pay the bills, and the friends he has lost on the way to success. All in all, he is grateful for what he has achieved. He sings, “I’m not where I wanna be, but I thank God I’m not where I used to be. I was fucked up, feelin’ like the devil had a hold on me, mm momma cryin’ when the rent due, hmm.
You don’t know the shit we been through, hmm.” With the prominent vocal stacks, the song feels like a Gospel worship song that brings believers to their knees. It has thematic similarities with the popular Christian hymn, “Count Your Blessings.” With Fridayy at the helm of production and with his background in the church, it is no surprise that the opening track is a song of thanksgiving. As he chants, “Blessings, blessings, blessings,” he appears to push himself to look at how his life has turned out positively. Recently, Nigerian singer, Asake, hopped on the “Blessings” remix and gave it an “Afro-Adura” feel.
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On “Empty Stomach,” Fridayy reflects on his days as a struggling artiste. When he says, “I was chasin’ my dreams on an empty stomach. I was standin’ in VIP while my rent was due,” it was as real as it sounded, with no filter; just a man letting an audience into his past. The accompanying music video paints the lyrics with its main character struggling to get his music on the radio. Still, he ends up stealing from dangerous people who murder his friend as payback. At the song’s end, Fridayy acknowledges that he is finally getting some recognition, “I’m on the come up, I’m tryna get to it they bringin’ my name in this industry.
Niggas is startin’ to notice me.” “Empty Stomach” isn’t just Fridayy’s story; it is the reality of many up-and-coming artistes. Fridayy doesn’t attempt to glamourise the road to success. He doesn’t preach false hope; instead, he serves the truth, as scary as it is. In doing so, he adds his voice to a chorus of new artistes whose calls for support are getting louder. On this song, Fridayy swerves between Rap and RnB.
After counting his blessings in “Blessings” and taking listeners back to his gloomy days in “Empty Stomach,” Fridayy continues to tell his stories on “God Sent” where he features fellow American rapper, Vory. Together, they sing about their experiences with heartbreak. On the one hand, Fridayy sees himself as a knight in shining armour who takes all the pain away, a God-sent. “I took the pain so we could all live.”
On the other hand, Vory sees his lover as a saviour. “Oh baby, I was hoping you could save me.” One thing they both have in common is that their lovers hurt them. Ultimately, they want to experience a love that doesn’t require scars or thrives on betrayal. They wear their anguish on their sleeves, though, and embrace their loss. The lines are now more clearly marked.
On the next song, “Don’t Give up on Me,” Fridayy pleads with an invisible force to hold his hand no matter what. “Hold me down through the night/please don’t give up on me, only me here on my knees, please don’t give up on me.” Having someone who believes in us, who believes in our seemingly impossible dream, changes our perspective and motivates us to work harder. Fridayy understands the relevance of this, and he doesn’t mind begging shamelessly as long as the person who believes in him doesn’t leave.
“Know the Truth” chronicles a toxic relationship where sex is prioritised over everything else. For someone like Fridayy, who has had a rough start in life, it is normal for him to have a coping mechanism; in his case, he sees sex as an escape and a way to get his mind off things.
However, sex lasts for a few minutes, so what happens after those vain minutes? Does he crawl back into his shell of depression, or does he look for his next fix? In the first verse, he sings confidently, “Yeah, your friends told on me, but they tell on you too (Hmm, you too, ayy)/ They can’t throw dirt on me when we both know the truth.” Since Fridayy and his partner both enjoy having sex, they naturally complement each other.
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Fridayy continues about his escapades in “Come through Boldly.” He doesn’t hold anything back as he urges his partner to quell his desires. “I got some liquor in my system, baby, won’t you come through? I’m back outside but I really want you. You know I got options; don’t you make me have to choose.” Even when he puts out cheesy, cliche lines like, “I know your tired, girl, take a break cause you been runnin’ through my mind all day,” it doesn’t feel genuine. Fridayy wants meaningless sex, and this mid-tempo jam makes no effort to hide his desires.
The project closes with the Fridayy-produced “Momma.” Here, Fridayy tries to assure his mother and himself that everything will work out. He sings, “One day at a time. It’ll get better, momma. Don’t you cry ’cause I know one day it’ll be alright?” On the previous tracks, Fridayy buries himself under the pleasures of sex, but in this last song, he doesn’t run away from his pain, “Too much pain on you and me. So much, I just fall down on my knees.” Instead, he hopes for better days. The minimal effort on production allows listeners to feel Fridayy’s emotions and understand his pain.
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An attempted vulnerability is the album’s central theme. Fridayy pours out his heart and tries to trivialise his pain, but in the end, he embraces it and holds onto the hope of better days. Having the theme and production intertwine ensures the project scores points for cohesiveness.
Fridayy is one artist with a unique talent for immersing his listeners in his chaos. On this project, listeners don’t feel displaced because Fridayy’s experience brings them into their reality. A struggling artiste would listen to “Empty Stomach” and relate easily, while someone who runs away from reality and seeks solace in fleeting things would listen to “Come Through” and “Know the Truth.”
Fridayy’s message flows easily over the simple production, but 12 producers working on a 7-track EP leaves me baffled. If twelve different people worked on the songs, why is there a lack of variety in the production? As the EP plays, it sounds like some elements in a previous song are replicated in the next. The only difference between the songs are the lyrics and messages, but the production leaves behind a bland aftertaste.
Lost in Melody is Fridayy coming to terms with his past, embracing his coping mechanisms and hoping for better days. Fridayy doesn’t do too much on this project. Instead, he sits in pain and looks for something to pull him out. However, sitting through 17 minutes of listening to someone talk about their pain can be tiring. Still, listening to sad songs helps humans reflect on their sad memories and better understand their emotions. Let us not forget, too, that this is Fridayy’s debut EP, and there is room for improvement. Hopefully, he will offer something more refreshing on his next project.
Lyricism – 1.3
Tracklisting – 0.8
Sound Engineering – 1.3
Vocalisation – 0.8
Listening Experience – 1.2
Rating – 5.4/10
Hope Ibiale is a writer and a book lover. She is currently a Communication and Language Arts student at the University of Ibadan.