The Richmond, Virginia singer and songwriter Lucy Dacus had one hell of a year in 2018. She released her sophomore album Historian, one of the straight-up best albums of the year, and introduced her to a whole new audience. She also joined forces with Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers to form the trio boygenius, and they released a great EP, too. This year, Dacus is doing things a little differently. She’s been releasing a series of singles throughout the year, all of them tied to holidays. And with Halloween coming up, she’s just released her version of Phil Collins’ tingly, melodramatic 1981 classic “In The Air Tonight.”
Dacus’ take on “In The Air Tonight” follows two other covers, Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose” for Valentine’s Day and Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” for Springsteen’s birthday. (She’s also released the originals “My Mother And I” and “Forever Half Mast.”) Her version of “In The Air Tonight” is pretty faithful, right down to the eerie textures and the massive drum break. But it also sounds distinctly Dacus, thanks to the warm, intimate delivery that she brings to everything she does.
Phil Collins presumably still has haters somewhere, but “In The Air Tonight” is a monstrous song, one that somehow translates fear and guilt and depression into a sleek ’80s pop context. It pretty much established Collins’ gated-reverb drum sound, which would dominate pop music in the decades to come. And it remains heavy and moving, even if it’s been memed to death. Below, listen to the Lucy Dacus cover and check out the original “In The Air Tonight” video.
Lucy Dacus’ cover of “In The Air Tonight” is out now on the streaming services.