Like anyone even remotely paying attention to current events, Lucy Dacus has conflicted, yet hopeful feelings on what it means to be an American. With July 4 just around the corner, Dacus decided to parse those complicated emotions for “Forever Half Mast,” the Independence Day installment of her 2019 song series with releases tied to holidays like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and a forthcoming installment for Bruce Springsteen’s birthday. The singer-songwriter plans to compile all of her 2019 songs into one project.
“I started writing this song while we were touring in Europe. I always feel most American when I’m outside of the U.S., and it is usually a horrible feeling,” Dacus said in a statement. “I’m constantly on the brink of apologizing for unintentionally representing a country that is so destructive. Though in the same breath, I love my home, the people living there, the landscape, plenty of what America has to offer.”
Dacus’s opening line in the chorus succinctly sums up her ambivalence over being an American at this particular point in history which features the Boygenius member singing “Yes, you’re evil, but you’re not that bad.”
Dacus told NPR that she wrote the track “years ago as an answer to my own question about whether or not any American can be a good person since we are all passively benefitting from one of the most violent and destructive systems in the world.” She added: “I don’t so much believe in the dualistic idea of people either being good or bad anymore, but I still believe the sentiment.”
Check out “Half Mast Forever” below: