Lucy Dacus’ nostalgic, introspective, cedar-smoked single “VBS” is the cornerstone of hot-acoustic-summer. The musicians autobiographical rumination on the memory, innocence, and corruption within Christian youth culture takes center stage in “VBS”, where the listener becomes all-too-familiar with the trauma of a bisexual Christian camp counselor in Richmond, Virginia.
Not only does Dacus ask her audience to contemplate the thin line between heaven and hell, but she introduces a commentary around shame, repression, and manipulation within summer camps, abusive homes, young relationships, and worship.
“You said I showed you the light / But all it did in the end / Was make the dark feel darker than before”
Dacus ultimately questions whether she holds faith or if the faith holds her. As seen in the verse above, “VBS” reflects on darkness and light, and wonders if religion is a result of “the dark feel[ing] darker than before” or “the light,” that she was expected to worship at summer camp.
Dacus continues to question her faith within the single with the verse “sedentary secrets like peach pits in your gut / Locked away like jams in the cellar of your heart.” Alongside an already diminishing belief, Dacus begins to feel Christianity repress her desires and romance with purity and modesty, suggesting that “sedentary secrets” must be “locked away.”
When Dacus, still holding onto the leadership expected of her, suggests that her lover is “here for a reason”, the summer camp crush remarks that they “are not convinced it’s a good one.” These two verses summarize the feelings Dacus holds surrounding love, leadership, and a hollowing shame that comes within Christianity. As the religion she follows becomes a strict set of rules over empowering values, Dacus is forced to question her very role at VBS.
Whether you’re looking for a nostalgic recount of summer camp, an empathetic focus on discovering your sexuality, or the vessel to heal your deep religious trauma, Lucy Dacus’ new single “VBS” is bound to leave you in your feels. With sharp lyricism, a deep, smokey voice, and a breathtaking sense of identity, Lucy Dacus turns an autobiographical recount of summer camp into an intellectual musing of religion and repression. Though “VBS” will definitely keep you thinking, Lucy Dacus’ new single is the perfect alternative anthem to chart your campfire playlist this summer.