So, How Was Your Decade is a series in which the decade’s most innovative musicians answer our questionnaire about the music, culture and memorable moments that shaped their decade. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.
A decade ago, indie singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus was a freshman in high school. “Reflecting from then until now is breaking my brain,” she says, “but I think the sum average of my experiences have been closer to good than bad.”
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Dacus’ career began with the release of 2016’s No Burden, followed by the critically-acclaimed 2018 record Historian. She also formed the excellent supergroup Boygenius with Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker that same year. She spent 2019 touring and dropping an EP of holiday-themed covers, ranging from Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” to Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.”
She’s also preparing for the release of a new solo album. “The material really freaks me out,” she told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “It’s largely about early childhood and early friendships and family, and weird stuff that you’re taught when you’re a kid, and things you have to unlearn — gender, sexuality, what loyalty looks like, what trust is. It makes my throat close up a little bit to think about sharing these songs.”
Dacus shares the people, places and things that helped shape the 2010s. “It’s the first decade I can remember in full,” she says. “So that’s saying something.”
My favorite album of the 2010s was: Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes is a masterpiece.
My favorite song of the 2010s was: LCD Soundsystem’s “Dance Yrself Clean.” I haven’t danced to any song more than this one.
The artist who had the best decade was: Big Thief and its members have put out only good songs and are the heroes of the 2010s, perhaps the 21st century.
The craziest thing that happened to me in the 2010s was: Singing backup for Dolly Parton with Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow, Linda Perry, Maggie Rogers, Yola, Amanda Shires, Maren Morris, Jade Bird, etc. at Newport Folk Fest this year.
My least favorite trend in music this decade was: I don’t think I have a least favorite trend. I guess it’s annoying when another band of white dudes tries to replicate The Strokes.
The TV show I couldn’t stop streaming in the 2010s was: Gilmore Girls. And anyone who hasn’t watched it and thinks its some twee shit, I’d like to direct your attention to season 6, episode 22 wherein Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, and Sparks all make live appearances. That show gave me enough cultural touchstones to begin my crawl out of suburban monotony.
The best new slang term of the decade was: “Honestly? Swag.” – my band
The best live show I saw in the 2010s was: Broken Social Scene at the National in Richmond, VA on September 11, 2010. That show made me want to make music.
The most surprising encounter I had with a fellow artist this decade was: Giving tarot readings to Lana Del Rey, her sister Chuck, and Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast. Or maybe accidentally making a band with two of the greatest songwriters and friends, Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker.
The misstep I learned the most from in the 2010s was: Never pretend you know about a band that you don’t. It’s stupid and you end up looking like a fool, like me freshman year of high school.
The best book I read this decade was: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. But if you want a book that was written this decade, Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado.
Something cool I did this decade that nobody noticed was: I cut my own hair every two weeks. Half of it is short and half of it is long, but you can’t really tell.
The strangest thing someone said about me in the media this decade was: Someone described my appearance as a “geek librarian with a secret.”
The best outfit I wore this decade was: Lace turtleneck, velvet pants, pointy metal-toed boots, embroidered blazer, nips truly exposed at the Boygenius show in Chicago.
The most “2010s” moment of the 2010s was: That time when a cruel, stupid reality TV star became the president.
My biggest hope for the 2020s is: Bernie wins.
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