I know it seems absurd and headline-grabbing, but honestly this song is going to be the high bar to hit for guitar-driven, brokenhearted love songs in the coming year.
Lucy Dacus has been singing "Night Shift" since the day after she wrote it, opening at the National Theater in Richmond, Va., back in 2016. I've heard her perform it a few times now and it's so damn visceral for her and to the audience. It's hard to forget a song that begins with the lines:
The first time I tasted somebody else's spit, I had a coughing fit.
I mistakenly called them by your name.
I was let down, it wasn't the same.
This stunning song will be the opening track to Lucy Dacus' second album, Historian. The track runs the span of musical emotion from frail to fierce, clocking in at almost 6:32. "Night Shift" is filled with a helpful heaping of resentment: "You don't deserve what you don't respect/Don't deserve what you say you love and then neglect."
Lucy Dacus wrote to me, saying, "This is the only breakup song I've ever written. For a long time I didn't believe expressing this sort of negativity was productive, but it's less productive to resist the truth of a situation. It's a hopeful song."
And indeed it ends with this thought, which is at one moment bitter but with an ending that sounds, to me, optimistic and filled with an understanding of how time heals.
You got a 9 to 5, so I'll take the night shift
and I'll never see you again if I can help it.
In five years I hope the songs feel like covers,
dedicated to new lovers.
Despite the nature of this opening song, Lucy Dacus told me that Historian "isn't a breakup album, but it is about loss and how far hope can go."
Historian is out March 2 on Matador Records.
1. Night Shift
3. The Shell
5. Yours & Mine
6. Body To Flame
8. Next Of Kin
9. Pillar Of Truth