Lucy Dacus Breaks Down Her Top 5 Love Songs, Just in Time for Valentine’s Day

An ultimate Valentine's playlist from the master of heartbreak songs.

LucyDacus - credit Elizabeth Weinberg.jpg

Not many musicians today can write a heartbreaking love song quite like Lucy Dacus. Whether it’s with last year’s stellar solo album Historian or her supergroup Boygenius, alongside fellow masters of the genre Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers, the 23-year-old has an innate ability to hit your core with just a few masterfully strung together words. On the track “Night Shift,” she opens the five-minute ode to a past relationship with a searing one-liner: “The first time I tasted somebody else’s spit, I had a coughing fit.” On “Pillar of Truth,” it’s a repeated mantra as the chorus: “I am weak looking at you/A pillar of truth/Turning to dust.” It’s the kind of stuff you’d put in your AIM profile, but way, way elevated.

This year, however, Dacus is taking the words of others with her newly announced series of covers titled 2019. Recorded in between tour dates, the EP will be made up of originals and covers tied to specific holidays, each song dropping around its respective date: Mother’s Day, Independence Day, Springsteen’s birthday, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s. Fittingly, Dacus kicked it all off with Valentine’s Day and a stunning cover of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose.” In honor of the new series—and the upcoming holiday—Dacus breaks down her five favorite love songs for W, here:

“You Can Have It All,” by Yo La Tengo

“This song makes love seem so simple. The lyrics and arrangement aren’t fancy, but it captures the bliss of being in love without being corny. Georgia’s singing is mesmerizing, and I love how Ira and James’s backing vocals sound like a weird heartbeat.”

“When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You),” by Louis Armstrong

“Another simple one about taking on the joys and sorrows of another as your own. I have a strong nostalgia for this song. What is love or trust other than living into the nostalgia of a well maintained foundation of positive memories?”

“One Line,” by PJ Harvey

“I love how she visualizes the connection between two people as a line drawn between their hearts through a city at war. The love she speaks of is urgent and ready to endure all things.”

“I Went to the Store One Day,” by Father John Misty

“Probably my favorite closing song of any record. In the mundanity of a parking lot, he meets someone and their future plays out before him, from present to death. It’s not all pretty, it’s overwhelming—but it is meaningful to know the scope of what you may be getting yourself into and have the bravery to begin it.”

“Me and My Husband,” by Mitski

“I can’t get over the lyrics to this one. I love a good, poetic admission of mortality, especially in a celebratory context. There is no such thing as ‘forever,’ but their love will live as long as they do. And the music behind the statement has the confidence to match.”

Related: A Conversation With Boygenius Gets Weird