Lucy Dacus’ New Album Is Pleasantly Melodic, but It Ain’t Easy Listening

Brutal honesty is rarely this engaging.

Album Review

Lucy Dacus

Lucy Dacus has a pretty, reassuring voice and crafts pleasant folk-pop melodies, which suggests Historian should be easy listening. Not so. The Virginia native’s compelling second album is a startling set of unsparing vignettes exploring damaged or dying relationships, laced with Dacus’ blunt observations. “Am I a masochist, resisting urges to punch you in the teeth?” she muses coolly on “Night Shift,” while “Timefighter” finds her confessing, “I fought time/It won in a landslide.” Starting softly, the songs often build to dramatic crescendos, punctuated by buzzing electric guitars Neil Young would admire. Through it all, Dacus remains sweetly unflappable, her calm demeanor countering the theatrics with the vocal equivalent of a shrug, as if to say, “This too shall pass.” Brutal honesty is rarely this engaging.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.