Friday, November 29th, 2019

Lucy Dacus – Fool’s Gold

Happy New Year!


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Natasha Genet Avery: Dacus deftly articulates the ambience of New Year’s — wistful yet hopeful, uneasy but expectant.
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Alex Clifton: New Year’s is such a weird holiday, full of promise but with the knowledge that the world doesn’t change radically once the clock strikes midnight; you only get older. Taylor Swift has given us a perfect song about the day that follows, cleaning up and being quiet with someone you love, but here Lucy Dacus captures the quiet, quivering anxiety that lies beneath the surface of every New Year’s party. We all want this year to be better, or maybe worry that it can only get worse; fear and hope tumble together, both causing butterflies in your stomach. It’s an odd energy that Dacus makes beautiful through a simple song.
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Ian Mathers: Potentially devastating, but in such a low-key way that if I’m not paying sufficient attention it just slides past me. There are worse fates.
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Ashley Bardhan: “I drank the dregs of the champagne alone / Warm, flat, coppery coins down my throat” is a very pretty, delicate way to open a song. This sounds like everything else. 
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Kylo Nocom: By all means, a Lucy Dacus song about New Year’s should make me burst into tears. I first listened to her album Historian on the last day of 2018 by a friend’s recommendation, an hour before I would have to go to a little church party. All I really wanted to do when I got home was listen to that album again, a bit of solace from my struggles with anxiety. Now at the end of 2019, Dacus details her experiences of post-celebration distress that match my own. I should love this out of pure coincidence, but it falls flat, more obsessed with mood than songwriting. In lieu of electric guitars, we have folk balladry. Her vulnerability is present, but only in vague, “Mr. Brightside” he-said-she-said form. For all the despair here, I still have no idea what she’s trying to say. “Fool’s Gold” is an apt title, the most gorgeous nothing I’ve heard in a while.
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Alfred Soto: “I threw the party so I could stay put” — boom. The song has other lines as precise. The arpeggio isn’t enough to enliven the list, among my least favorite of structural choices. 
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Julian Axelrod: “I threw the party so I could stay put” is the ultimate extroverted introvert mission statement, a cry for companionship when you can barely leave the house. Holiday songs are broad by design, but I like how this zeroes in on the lonely moments within the camaraderie: solo drinking, sighs of relief, and the slow realization this year will be just like the one before.
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Michael Hong: A sad confession: I’ve never been to a New Year’s party. Instead, like clockwork, I end up watching some performance by whatever artist had the great (mis)fortune of being the guest on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and I’ve learned one thing: nothing magical ever happens. Your life doesn’t suddenly improve with the start of the new year despite whatever wish or dream you send out into the universe and anyone expecting otherwise is doomed to be met with frustrating disappointment on the other side of the ball drop. Dacus’ 2019 EP focuses not on the party, but the comedown, the disappointing aftermath of high expectations. This isn’t Taylor Swift’s version of the holiday spent dancing barefoot with a lover within the safe confines of a snowglobe, no, it’s a crushing return to reality, watching a friend stumble out the door in a drunken stupor or leaving another to sleep it off in the bathtub. It’s a final piece of indulgence after the final guest leaves that quickly grows sour. It’s the realization that the holiday will never be everything you imagined it to be. But for all her keen observations on the disappointment of the day, Dacus is never bitter or cruel, merely another disappointed partygoer. She spends her time introducing you to the new year as gently as she can, her sonorous voice guiding you like a faint glow over the track’s charmingly delicate piano line. Dacus embraces you for the duration of the comedown and never lets you blame yourself, like a friend that holds your hand as you drunkenly sob in the bathroom. It’s bleak, it’s despondent, and it’s crushing, but “Fool’s Gold” attempts to find the beauty of the night, glimmering like the gold streamers you rushed to put up in your attempt to put together the perfect party.
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Reader average: [8] (1 vote)

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