Most people remember their childhood as a scrapbook – the bright, happy stories embellished with embellishments as they are told again and again, while the darkest times remain buried in the attic, never to emerge. only in the most vulnerable moments, or never at all. Singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus, meanwhile, seems to remember her youth in great detail. His file home video and new single “Kissing Lessons” recount those memories in a series of vivid vignettes – marrying awkward moments with sweet nostalgia. She turns the mundane milestones of youth, like kissing in a basement or going to Bible camp, into treasured memories, reminding us that it’s the little things, good or bad, that make us who we are.
Dacus explains that writing home video in fact helped her deal with much of her youth. “I’m always discovering as I write, so maybe the main reason I write is to figure out what I’m thinking,” Dacus said. “I’d like to think I’m a self-aware person, but actually it’s not that easy for me.”
Ironically, for someone who is such a gifted songwriter, Dacus hates talking about herself. Whether it’s years of a deeply Christian upbringing or a fear of saying too much, she finds it easier to write about her life through the context of other people – as if she were an outsider watching her own life.
“I still haven’t had the courage to talk about myself,” says Dacus. “I think it’s embarrassing or something…but I can talk about myself when it comes to other people.” In “Kissing Lessons”, Dacus tells the origin story of his first kiss, a “lesson” from an older classmate who promised to help him get his crush. “She gave me lip gloss and a haircut / and after that / a lesson in kissing.”
In this song, Dacus rids himself and “Rachel” of all shame and describes the irony of two young girls, talking about their dream futures with their respective husbands, while fulfilling these fantasies with each other in real time. . It’s a short, sweet meditation on the blurred lines of close female friendships, the innocence of youth, and how societal norms weigh on us from an early age – plenty to unpack in just under two minutes.
With each record, it feels like Dacus is closer to sharing her true self with her listeners, though she may not want to. “I want to know who I am, and sometimes I don’t feel like I do,” Dacus reflects. “And I want my loved ones to know who I am…I don’t know if I want everyone to know who I am.” A statement that speaks to our generation: how much of us do we need to show the world? Whether on TikTok, or to our colleagues, or on our Tinder profile, how much is too much? When does someone deserve to know anything about us?
Dacus explains that now it’s hard to write a song knowing that there are a lot of people who are likely to consume it. She says she always writes songs that she never releases, but it’s hard to get the audience out of the picture during the creative process, especially when the lifespan of their emotions or identity is so short-lived. “I feel like the recordings are so purposeful. I know I change all the time, so it’s almost counterproductive to say ‘This is who I am’ and then put out a recording and change inevitably” Dacus explains. “Maybe I think about it too much, but that’s exactly what I do.” Lucky for us.
Dacus is walking so we can bump into our exes and go sing “Hot & Heavy” loudly alone in our cars. She perfectly encapsulates the joys, pains and excitements of adolescence so that we can relive our own. “I think part of engaging with music — or any medium — is showing,” she says. “You put yourself in the story. And so, I feel like people often confuse me with themselves. I don’t think there’s a way to reconcile that. I think it’s just… not being too influenced by other people’s idea of who I am.”
Lucy Dacus performs Thursday, February 10 at the Majestic Theatre; 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; majesticdetroit.com. Indigo De Sousa is also on the bill. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the show. Doors at 7 p.m.
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