Lucy Dacus
Lucy Dacus Credit: Courtesy of Matador Records

The moment you start reflecting on a time that’s past, it’s no longer something you’re living—it becomes something you’ve lived. Lucy Dacus documents and interrogates her own coming-of-age on her new third album, Home Video. After being blindsided by the success of her 2016 debut, No Burden, Dacus was forced to reckon with her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, which had swiftly turned from safe haven to minefield as she rose to fame: assumptions circulated, jealousy seethed, and strangers came knocking at her door. With Home Video, Dacus reclaims her homegrown memories, taking space to muse on her past. Right from the opening track, “Hot and Heavy,” she proves that she’s retained her preternatural knack for earworm melodies and gut-punching couplets (“You used to be so sweet / Now you’re a firecracker on a crowded street”). Such wry poetics would sound like posturing in most singers’ mouths, but Dacus’s honey-dipped voice and vivid delivery are as warm and sweet as the summer days she reminisces about. The song “VBS” (which stands for “vacation Bible school”) recounts a hormone-fueled, guilt-ridden Christian-camp romance in cringe-inducing detail. Dacus falls hard and fast for a boy who loves Slayer and weed and snorting nutmeg—the kind of minutiae that only feels romantic if you haven’t lived long enough to know better. Religion makes another appearance in “Triple Dog Dare,” which rehashes a youthful queer tryst that couldn’t overcome the fear of God. Against a backdrop of synth and mellotron, longtime live-show staple “Thumbs” tells the tale of Dacus helping a friend break the last threads binding her to her estranged father—blood is no thicker than the rum and Cokes that made him a runaway drunk. Dacus explores weighty topics—death and love and the casualties wrought by the passage of time—but she sings with the lightness of stones skipping over water. Dacus’s Boygenius bandmates, Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker, add vocal harmonies on “Please Stay” and “Going Going Gone,” deepening the tenderness of Home Video and giving extra heft to otherwise rough-hewn acoustic tracks. Though the album is saturated with celluloid nostalgia, it’s far from wistful or mournful. At 26, Dacus is an old soul, and she understands that what she sees in the rearview mirror isn’t scorched earth, lost to her forever—it’s still her world, in limbo between repression and recollection.   v