When The A.V. Club spoke to Lucy Dacus, she mentioned having written a song for Home Video that was “just about kissing girls” that ultimately didn’t make the cut. At the time, she said, “I don’t know when that will ever come out.” Thankfully, Dacus didn’t keep it in the vaults, and “Kissing Lessons” is finally here.
While Dacus’ other songs about queerness featured on the album were on the emotionally heavier side (like Home Video standout and closer “Triple Dog Dare”), this one has a cheery, effervescent quality—both lyrically and melodically—with Dacus looking back at her first romantic dynamic with a girl.
She sings about a slightly older girl named Rachel (she was in third grade, Dacus was in second) who offered young Dacus help with getting boys by giving her kissing lessons. And although the girls talked about having crushes on boys, Dacus’ infatuation grew stronger: “I still wear a letter R charm on my bracelet / and wonder if she thinks of me as her first kiss,” she sings.
“Kissing Lessons” received similar treatment from the musician’s fans as “Thumbs,” the song that Dacus kept in the vaults for a few years until Home Video. Some who knew about “Kissing Lessons” from live performances had been eagerly awaiting it; the Twitter account that tracked how many days had gone by without Dacus releasing “Thumbs” even re-branded itself by turning into a “Has Lucy released ‘Kissing Lessons’?” account.
The same account shared a flyer it spotted in Brooklyn, one that teased, “Nervous about making the first move? Call (804) 409-4451 for kissing lessons.” Though the flyer didn’t mention Dacus’ name, those who knew about the song quickly figured it out, as flyers also began popping up around Dacus’ hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Anyone who called the number could hear the song before its official release.