Song of the Week: Lucy Dacus – “Thumbs”

A brutal, solemn look at an absentee father and protecting the ones you love.

Lucy Dacus has a way of putting her innermost thoughts and emotions into music and words that perfectly gets across her feelings at that moment. “Thumbs,” her newest single, may be the most intense song she’s written to date. Over a mournful, almost hymn-like synth line, sliding so subtly that it’s almost still, she tells the story of joining a friend to meet their absentee father.

With every line she sings, small, horrible details start to unfold, like how this friend’s father hasn’t seen her in nine years, how he tries to play nice by mentioned his child support checks. As the scene plays out, even though Dacus’ voice remains calm, you can feel her anger and protectiveness towards her friend build, culminating with “I would kill him/If you let me.” It’s an immensely powerful song of love between two friends and the trauma that stays with us.

“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,” Dacus said about the song.

“Thumbs” is out now via Matador Records.