Today is my birthday. Today I want to hear this song over and over again. I’ve been wanting to hear this song over and over again since the middle of last week, though I’ve been loving it for a lot longer than half a week. I’ve been loving it since I first heard it, in 2018. But, I don’t think I really HEARD it until the middle of last week.
That opening line. Fuck. I want to have written that opening line. I feel like it is such a visceral and honest (painfully so) way to start a story. It pulls you right in. You know you are heading into a story of young love, of messiness and first times, or maybe not the first time, but that one big-time that ends, probably just as messy as it began. It feels like the start of a memoir. It is such a perfect start to an album, especially one titled Historian.
“Night Shift” by Lucy Dacus
from the album, Historian (2018)
Song of the Day
“The first time I tasted somebody else’s spit,
I had a coughing fit.”
“Night Shift” is a quintessential break-up song, veering between the pain and agony of loss, to the relieving release of letting go and going on. The bitter-taste of stating that you’ll never see the person again, while obviously seeing the person again for one last “something”. What is it? A conversation? A last-ditch effort? Fighting words? Parting words? One last kiss (or more)?
The song fluctuates between peaceful strumming and distorted guitars- the perfect metaphor for the back and forth journey of breakup and loss.
“It starts out dark and ends hopeful, but it gets darker in between; it goes to the deepest, darkest, place and then breaks,” Dacus explains. “What I’m trying to say throughout the album is that hope survives, even in the face of the worst stuff.” (from lightning 100)
“Night Shift” (live) by Lucy Dacus
“I feel no need to forgive,
but I might as well.
But, let me kiss your lips so I know how it felt.
Pay for my coffee and leave before the sun goes down,
walk for hours in the dark,
feeling all hell.”
I remember loving someone like that. Messy, desperate, obsessively passionate. I remember breaking up with someone like that. Messy, desperate, heartbreakingly passionate. I remember the last time I saw him. The last conversation. The feeling of walking (or driving) away. The catch in my throat, the tears in my eyes, the doubt, the love and loss and losing and letting go.
We’ve all had that love, haven’t we? Or we will. It’s inevitable, I think.
Today is my birthday. I’m playing this song on repeat. I’m thinking about long ago lost love. I’m thinking about the imprint it left. The echoing memory. The scars. As I sit here in week two of working from home, of social distancing, of trying to stave off this vicious flu, I find myself looking back, feeling back, remembering. Did that past love change the way I love now? Am I stronger for it? Am I warier? Or do I keep opening up, loving regardless of the past?
I hope it is the latter. With all we have lost (hopefully temporarily), I’d like to think all of me still exists to live, and love.
“You got a nine to five,
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.”