Lucy Dacus Tackles Childhood Religious Trauma in Her Latest Single, ‘VBS’

Excellent singer/songwriter Lucy Dacus has crafted a wonderful career out of poignant, resonant rock that lands heavy lyrical punch after punch. Whether on her own or as one-third of indie woman supergroup Boygenius, Dacus never fails to leave an impression. Now, she’s gearing up for her third album, Home Video, and we’ve got a brand new single that reflects on Dacus’ life growing up in church.

“VBS” is not exactly a fond walk down memory lane, as Dacus recalls her youth group bravado blinding her to the realities of genuine tragedy that were impacting the people around her, including her first boyfriend. “You said that I showed you the light,” she muses. “But all it did in the end was make the dark feel darker than before.”

In a statement, Dacus says that vacation Bible school is “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.”

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Dacus joins a recent collective of singer/songwriters who are opening about their experiences growing up in church, and how it’s shaped their current lives. Artists like Semler and Dacus’ Boygenius bandmates Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers have complicated feelings about their old youth group experiences, and delve into those feelings in thoughtful ways. Not all of these memories reflect positively on how their respective churches treated them, and church communities need to reflect on just why that is and what that might mean. After all, making the dark feel darker than before feels like a pretty big swing and miss.

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