Back in 2018, Lucy Dacus started playing a song in her live sets called “Thumbs.” It quickly became a fan favorite. Dacus had asked fans to not record the song during performances so it could be enjoyed once it was eventually released as a single, but she inadvertently caused a mythologization of the song. There’s even a fan-made Twitter account dedicated to “Thumbs,” tracking whether it was released or not. She first surprised 100 random fans with a hand-assembled VHS tape featuring “Thumbs” in late February. Now, the singer-songwriter has finally decided it’s time to share “Thumbs” with the world.
Dacus is an expert storyteller, as we saw in her 2016 debut No Burden and 2018's Historian. Here, her powerful voice is only paired with synths, creating a warm, minimalistic sound that captures the emotion of her lyrics. Dacus sings about reminding her friend that they don’t “owe shit” to their estranged dad. It’s a stunning track, and only Dacus can get away with making the word “shit” sound gorgeous.
Here’s what Dacus said about the song in a press release:
“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.”
As for whether this means there’s a new album in the horizon, we’ll likely find out soon.