American indie rocker Lucy Dacus has returned with her first new single since her excellent third album Home Video dropped last year. A quick and scuzzy jolt of rock and roll is unfurled in the new single ‘Kissing Lessons’.
Dacus is becoming uniquely adept at these kinds of characters studies. Home Video was full of them: there was ‘Brando’, which took aim at a former friend who was clueless about just how far away from the titular Hollywood icon he really was. There was also ‘Thumbs’, which landed as our 10th best song of 2021, zeroing in on a close friend and the pain Dacus is willing to inflict on her deadbeat dad just to save her some pain.
‘Kissing Lessons’ isn’t anything that heavy or serious. It’s an under two-minute track that recounts the innocence of children dealing with growing up. No one really knows how to deal with relationships or romantic feelings when you’re in second grade, with Dacus and her friend Rachel practising kissing each other to try and win over their respective crushes.
Really, the song is about reminiscing about the past, with Dacus still having a charm on her bracelet that connects her to her first kiss, and wondering if that person ever thinks about her.
Dacus engaged in a bit of guerrilla marketing for the song: posters with tear-off tabs promoting “kissing lessons” were posted on poles in different major cities around the US. If you called the number on the tab, you’d hear a preview of the track. That’s the kind of DIY aesthetic that has completely gone by the wayside in the internet age, and it’s the perfect kind of throwback energy for a song so preoccupied with days gone by like ‘Kissing Lessons’ is.
The only problem with ‘Kissing Lessons’ is that it’s only two minutes long. It doesn’t really have a chorus or major hook, but some of Dacus’ best songs don’t. It just would have been nice to have a little more meat on the bone, or a little more insight into the story. As it stands, we’re in and out we can even internalise the story, but who says every single has to be a world-changing epic. ‘Kissing Lessons’ isn’t Dacus’ best or most impactful single, but it has all of her signature elements in one compact package.
Check out the video for ‘Kissing Lessons’ down below.