EP Review: A Date Night with Lucky Daye

Lucky Daye’s new album Table For Two, released on February 12, 2021, is his widescreen vision of R&B. Daye emerges with a signature sound of his own, painting his life story about growing up in a cult and surviving Hurricane Katrina, as well as making music in Atlanta. Now based in Los Angeles, the singer-songwriter remains the synthesist of traditional and progressive R&B modes while staying true to his foundation in classical soul. It encompasses everything from the explosive, funky bombast of seventies favorites to the vibrant swagger of late nineties classics.

While we still wait for the full-length follow-up to his four-time Grammy-nominated album Painted, Daye has sent us a special new EP to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Rather than being filled with typical ballads, Table For Two takes a conceptual route, looking at the complexities of love in the age of social media. Each song is a collaboration with a different female R&B artist, including Yebba, Queen Naija, Tiana Major9, Mahalia, Ari Lennox, and Joyce Wrice. Although the chemistry between Daye and the guest artists isn’t always consistent, the music never suffers as a result.

This virtual date night episode begins with an AI hostess confirming Daye’s reservation at the Table For Two experience, who offers him a complimentary “ego check” at the entrance. Whether Daye accepted or ignored it is up to the listeners to decide. If you are overcome by the intro’s soundscape of vulnerability, you will soon be submerged in the singer’s ethereal melodies and magnetic voice. 

The EP sinuously eases you into the second track, “How Much Can A Heart Take,” featuring Yebba and an airy groove that reeks of soulful funk. Although we weren’t aware we needed that pairing, the tight harmonies between Daye and Yebba elevate the track with their strong vocal chemistry. The wordplay reflects the layers of pressure that social media puts on romances. 

Opening with the sound effects of iPhone text messages, “On Read” morphs into a bluesy guitar beat that sets the hip-hop-leaning production for the vocals that follow. Daye and Tiana explore the tension and stress that comes with read receipts by delivering opposing perspectives through each other’s choruses. 

“My Window,” featuring Mahalia, imagines a doleful, rainy day with piano, drums, and bass evoking clouds, rain and gray skies. The duo delivers the message that love isn’t enough to hold things together. Similarly, “Access Denied” takes on a vocal tango that links Daye and Ari Lennox for a sultry and mysterious track.

In “Dream,” Naija’s warm vocals take on a commanding quality expressing the inexplicable feelings experienced during the blooming stage of love. Supported by a berceuse-style rhythm, this reverie is an excellent example of what an authentic romance feels like. The EP wraps up the narrative with “Falling in Love,” co-starring the relative newcomer Joyce Wrice in a simple conclusion and contrast to the previous melancholy offerings.

In this 23-minute collection, Lucky Daye takes us on a rollercoaster ride of love, relationships, and all the bumps in between. Daye proves that sometimes it takes two artists to make a song sound complete. Attending this special rendezvous with Lucky Daye is an engagement you don’t want to miss.

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