Lucy Dacus – “Thumbs”
Just over three years ago, Lucy Dacus released her great sophomore album Historian. Since then she formed Boygenius with Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker, spent 2019 releasing new songs and covers tied to various holidays, and appeared on tracks for Bridgers’ and Baker’s new albums as well as with Hamilton Leithauser and Hayley Williams. That’s a busy couple of years, and it looks like this one will be no different: A new Dacus album seems on the horizon, and we ranked it amongst our most anticipated releases of 2021.
While there’s still no official word on that, today we get to hear a new Dacus song. It’s the long-awaited recording of “Thumbs,” a song Dacus first debuted in 2018 and played live enough that it became a fan favorite. Here’s what she had to say about it:
Like most songs I write, I wasn’t expecting it and it made me feel weird, almost sick. It tells the story of a day I had with a friend during our freshman year of college, a significant day, but not one that I had thought of for years. I started playing it live a month or so later during the boygenius tour after Phoebe and Julien encouraged me to. I knew I wanted a long time to get used to playing it since it made me feel shaky, so I ended sets with it for about half the shows I played in 2019. Before I played it, I would ask the audience to please not record it, a request that seems to have been respected, which I’m grateful for.
“Thumbs” features Dacus singing over spare, ambient backdrops built of synths and mellotron. The lyrics are front and center here, and they tell the story of a strained family reunion. Dacus doesn’t give you all the details, but the ones she chooses are brutally economic in how they paint the portrait of an absentee father. Listen below.