Acclaimed singer/songwriter Lucy Dacus has shared another new single from her forthcoming album Home Video ahead of its June 25 release via Matador Records. “VBS,” which arrived Wednesday morning alongside a gorgeous animated music video by Dacus’ creative collaborator Marin Leong, follows in the footsteps of “Thumbs” and “Hot & Heavy.”
Home Video finds Dacus revisiting her roots so as to better understand who she’s become, and on “VBS,” she’s focused on her vacation bible school days, singing, “In the summer of ‘07 I was sure I’d go to heaven / but I was hedging my bets at VBS.” Dacus’ recollections balance a genuine search for spiritual fulfillment and social affirmation with gentle humor and sage wisdom; addressing an old boyfriend directly, Dacus admits, “Your poetry was so bad, it took a lot to not laugh / You said that I showed you the light, but all it did, in the end / was make the dark feel darker than before.” Her moving vocals are supported by Jacob Blizard’s plentiful electric and acoustic guitars, as well as Jake Finch’s judicious drums and organ.
Dacus says of her new song in a statement:
VBS means vacation bible school, and I went to tons of them. It’s where Christian parents send their kids over the winter, spring, or summer breaks from school to get closer to God, maybe learn some outdoor skills, and bring home useless crafts and totems like fruit of the spirit sand art and purity rings. I wrote the song in the van on the way to Nashville to record Home Video after seeing one of those readerboards outside a church advertising a wholesome church camp for kids. I thought about my first boyfriend, who I met at VBS, the resident bad boy who loved Slayer and weed more than Jesus. I took it upon myself to save him, and make him stop doing drugs (with an exception for snorting nutmeg). God, I was so lame.
Home Video’s visual director Leong adds of the “VBS” video:
A lot of the album examines navigation of self and how it evolves, and Lucy and I have often talked about bodies, the part they play in our ideation of self, and both connection and disconnection to them. We arrived at this world where her physical self is being distorted by the landscape that she’s present in, both in a beautiful and slightly uncanny way. One of the reasons I find animation and music compelling is the freedom in world building, the ability to translate story and tone, and synthesize it into a visual landscape using imagery that isn’t necessarily rooted in reality. And although I was treating this video like a diptych or braided essay with the song, rather than an overt visual depiction, I was able to make some subtle but direct references to the lyrics as well, so I’m excited for people to find those.
Watch the “VBS” video below and revisit Dacus’ 2016 Daytrotter session further down.