Welcome to Under the Covers, your weekly dose of genre-bending with your favorite WBRU artists & songs! From the genuinely good to the seriously strange, we’ve got you covered. This week, we look at Lucy Dacus’ cover of Édith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose”
“La Vie En Rose,” originally sung by legendary French musician Édith Piaf in the late 1940s, is a timeless romantic classic, constantly reimagined and reinvented. Musicians from all decades and genres, including Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, and Lady Gaga (in the 2018 remake of A Star is Born) have offered their unique spin on the song.
Indie rock musician Lucy Dacus recently contributed her own rendition to this rich musical history in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. Dacus’ cover of “La Vie En Rose” is the first release off of 2019, an EP that will feature both additional covers, as well as original compositions, with singles’ releases planned for Taurus season and Mother’s Day, Independence Day, Bruce Springsteen’s Birthday, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s.
Dacus has had a notably productive and successful year, releasing her critically acclaimed second album Historian in March 2018, joining fellow indie musicians Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers to form boygenius and release an EP together in October 2018, and kicking off her North American tour this February.
Dacus’ cover of “La Vie En Rose” only further fuels this positive trajectory. An energetic beat and fast-paced tempo distinguish her version from the orchestral original. Dacus herself says, “ [she] want[s] someone to listen to this while running at top speed to the doorstep of the person they adore, ready to profess their deep, undying love.” The feeling of running, reaching towards something or someone comes across clearly in the crescendos towards the eponymous phrase, “la vie en rose.”
Dacus’ bilingual interpretation of the song also brings another fresh element. Initially singing in French, Dacus transitions to a mix of English and French around the midway point, creating an alluring cross-cultural blend. Again, Dacus grounds the dualistic nature of the song in the phrase, “la vie en rose,” which she continues to sing in French throughout.
The excitement embodied by both Dacus’ cover and the attitude of her listeners provides the perfect initial burst of momentum towards the upcoming release of 2019.