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

Brutal honesty is rarely this engaging.

Album Review

Lucy Dacus
Historian
Matador

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.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

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.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

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

Donate

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.