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Song of the Week: Lucy Dacus Delivers a Wrenching Ballad with “Thumbs”

Haviah Mighty, Thundercat, and Rosé also had us bopping our heads this week

Lucy Dacus, photo by Marin Leong
Lucy Dacus, photo by Marin Leong
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    Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Lucy Dacus delivered a wrenching ballad that left all of us speechless.

    Some songs end and sit in the pit of your stomach for the rest of the day, so visceral and affecting that they can’t be shaken. Lucy Dacus’ raw, devastating new release, “Thumbs”, is such a song, offering a gothic revenge fantasy that lingers long after the four and a half minutes have passed.

    Extremely minimal in production, “Thumbs” is also nearly formless, unfolding more like a whispered secret, twilight confession, or piece of local mythos than traditional verses and choruses. It’s a quiet storm, crashing, fading, then crashing back with renewed intensity; the details are unflinching, refusing to let the listener off easy. We may as well be in the bar beside Lucy.

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    The song is based off of a true story, detailing an encounter the singer-songwriter had years ago. In a statement about the track, she shared: “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.” Even if we haven’t undergone an experience exactly like the one she describes, the feelings of live-wire rage, fight-or-flight, and, most importantly, protectiveness for a friend are much more universal.

    Almost as remarkable as the song itself is the fact that pre-pandemic Lucy had been playing this song at shows for trio boygenius, of which she makes up a third (alongside Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker). During each show, she would ask the audience not to record the song. Remarkably, the attendees seemed to have listened and kept the song and its story close to their chests. With songwriting so personal, so intimate, and so truthful, it certainly feels like Lucy Dacus has put her trust in each one of us, too.

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    “You two are connected by pure coincidence/ Connected by blood, but baby it’s all relative …You don’t owe him shit.” 

    –Mary Siroky
    Contributing Writer


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