Album of the Week: Lucy Dacus, 'Home Video'

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Lucy Dacus, 'Home Video'
Lucy Dacus, 'Home Video' (Matador)
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The text came through in the early hours of a June afternoon, connecting me from across the country to a dear friend.

"The bridge of 'Hot & Heavy' is so intimate. I think I've said that before. But I still think it."

"Intimate" is perhaps the singular word to best describe Lucy Dacus's work. The rich tones of her music have always been inviting enough to warm a listener up to often stark observations always delivered with a soft croon. With the release of her third solo album, fans knew well enough to prepare themselves for such honey-dripped raw emotion on Home Video, but Dacus defied even that expectation by releasing her most incisive record to date.

Dacus wrote and recorded the album on the heels of a successful season with indie supergroup boygenius, which she formed with Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers in 2016. After releasing a collaborative EP and touring as a trio, Dacus returned to the studio and began writing songs that ended up depicting her own childhood and teenage adventures and, sometimes, misadventures. She enlisted the help of old friends and new, reuniting with her own band and receiving backing vocals from both Baker and Bridgers.

The songs on Home Video depend on a state of bittersweet nostalgia, but tend to lean harder on the bitter than the sweet. Dacus displays unapologetic vulnerability when she sings about teenage crushes; maneuvers trauma caused by parents who have never carried their weight; and unpacks the emotional baggage of watching childhood friends grow into adults who make poor decisions. With droll specificity in her lyrics, Dacus makes it easy for a listener to map their own memories onto intensely personal stories that reflect universal emotions.

The easier Dacus makes it to imagine being invited into her closest circle of friends, the easier it is to envision compassionately but firmly nudging her towards her "shout it from the rooftops" moment. It likely speaks more to my own short temper when it comes to advocating for my friends than it does any true shortcomings of the album, but there are moments on Home Video that make me long for some anthemic catharsis.

Hotheaded loyalty aside, there is something to be said for the friend who manages to remain composed and comforting no matter how many heartbreaks and injustices she sustains, witnesses, wards off, and recounts. The true strength of Home Video is that we get to bear witness to Dacus being ready and willing to take on that role time and time again.

The process of listening to Home Video feels vulnerable in itself, which is why I think I find it most natural to enjoy this record with my closest friends. The ones I've grown with and away from, and then back together again at different stages of life. It's rewarding to share the songs on a surface level, talking about the musicality and themes. But the true bond of the friendship is illuminated by the willingness to dig deeper. To share the memories that are unearthed by the songs and to hold space for that nostalgia together, no matter how tender.

External Link

Lucy Dacus - official site

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  • boygenius perform in The Current studio The members of boygenius - Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus - don't think of themselves as a supergroup. 'I like just 'group',' Baker says, explaining the word best fits the musicians' collective ethos. Ahead of their show at First Avenue in Minneapolis, boygenius stopped at The Current for a session hosted by Mac Wilson.
  • Lucy Dacus proves herself in The Current's studio Lucy Dacus headlined the 7th St Entry on April 4, and the afternoon of the show, she brought her band into The Current's studio to play songs from <em>Historian</em>.

3 Photos

  • Lucy Dacus press photo
    Lucy Dacus released her album, 'Home Video,' on June 25, 2021, via Matador Records. (Ebru Yildiz)
  • Woman onstage with guitar.
    Lucy Dacus performing at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, March 2020. (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
  • boygenius perform in The Current studio
    boygenius portrait at The Current, L to R: Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers (Nate Ryan | MPR)