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Song to Start Your Week

‘Night Shift,’ Lucy Dacus

Seethe, sob, and then pick yourself up off the ground

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Song to start your week

“The first time I tasted somebody’s else’s spit, I had a coughing fit.”

The opening line to “Night Shift” by indie rock artist Lucy Dacus from her 2018 album “Historian” sets the tone for the rest of the song’s refreshing bluntness. Starting your week on a song about a breakup may seem counterintuitive, but “Night Shift” is more than that — it’s a rallying cry for hope and for new beginnings.

The lyrics to “Night Shift” tell a story. It starts with a gentle acoustic guitar and Dacus’s rich, sweet voice speaking to a former partner as they meet up in a cafe for the first time after a nasty breakup. She’s polite but clearly still upset.

As the song progresses, the drums kick in and there’s more of a bitter pride to her tone as she spits out lines like “You don’t deserve what you don’t respect / Don’t deserve what you say you love and then neglect.”

The climax of “Night Shift” is an explosion of mixed emotions — resentment, despair, and hard-won hope — as Dacus belts out a repeated line: “In five years, I hope the songs feel like covers / Dedicated to new lovers.”

A lot of breakup songs tend to lean heavily toward either “I’m hurting” or “I’m over it,” but “Night Shift” accomplishes a rare feat by striking a perfect balance of both. The emotional complexity makes it real and easy to connect with, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t listened to it on repeat for my own healing. 

I don’t want to deny you the opportunity to feel that same catharsis. Whether it’s to get over an ex, a crush, a friend, or even a competitive major you got rejected from, “Night Shift” is the perfect anthem to help you both acknowledge painful endings and optimistically start anew this week.

Reach writer Natalie Rand at arts@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @n_rand_

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