Lucy Dacus Reflects on the Weird Energy of New Year’s Eve in “Fool’s Gold”


Image Credit: Pitchfork Media

Johanna Zenn

On Thursday, singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus released a new single called “Fool’s Gold” right before the rest of her new EP, which comes out Friday. She explained the process of writing it, saying “I started writing ‘Fool’s Gold’ after the last person left a New Year’s Eve party I hosted in 2018. I did what I said— drank the last of the champagne alone, felt anxious, and locked the door behind everyone.” She’s referring to the opening lines, where she sings “I drank the dregs of the champagne alone/Warm, flat, coppery coins down my throat.” The new EP comes a little less than a month after both of her boygenius bandmates, Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers, also released new music, meaning that we have been deeply blessed and should be thankful for this instead of whatever colonial propaganda we’re supposed to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.

Dacus said that New Year’s has become one of her favorite holidays, and that the song may be her favorite on the EP. It sounds a bit like a lullaby, something to listen to while nodding off on the couch. While she said she loves New Year’s, Dacus’s interpretation of the holiday perfectly captures its inherently melancholy contradictions; the push-pull of the excitement for a perceived fresh start and the heartache from the what-ifs and the bad days and the mundane tasks that fill up a large part of a year.

Listening to all of the ways in which Dacus and her friends explain the weird, inexplicable feeling of existing in the space between the memories of the last year and the hope for the next one, I thought about the emphasis we put on this concept of a do-over, whether we like it or not. Even those of us who say that we don’t buy into it, it’s hard to resist the temptation of thinking that we can change the things we don’t like about ourselves as the clock changes from 11:59 to 12:00. And we try to rationalize or explain away the reasons why this doesn’t work, whether it be society, the wrath of God, or your Mom and Dad, to use their examples. It’s hard to try to understand something so unknowable, like the progression of time and our place in it.

But it’s not all bad. One of the most beautiful images in the song is one where Dacus describes the overwhelming levity that comes when you’re goofing off “like drunks in a bathtub” with people you love. It made me think of laughing until I couldn’t breathe with my closest friends in the world, and how I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Yes, I’m going to give up on my overly ambitious resolutions in mid-January, and some days I might think “this is the absolute worst year of my life” for dumb reasons, but, there are also gonna be moments like that where everything feels okay. Maybe the hope is fool’s gold, but it’s still glittering all the same.