Hearing the word “nostalgia” typically conjures feelings of bliss and sentiment. Nostalgia longs for the past while acknowledging the progress of the future. Sometimes, however, the past brings a painful twist to nostalgia, remembering fond memories marred by tragic occurrences.
Indie rocker, Lucy Dacus, explores these feelings of nostalgia, both positive and negative, on her latest single, “Hot and Heavy,” a teaser for her upcoming album Home Video. “Hot and Heavy,” an idiom typically used to describe an enthralling and exciting relationship, is employed by Dacus to describe her return to the past: “Being back here makes me hot in the face/ Hot blood in my pulsing veins/ Heavy memories weighing on my brain,” she sings, recanting the anxiety of revisiting a doomed relationship. This play of words succinctly summarizes the feelings of travelling to the past: you are hit by a wave of memories, thus weighing you down.
Dacus doesn’t only focus on the troubles of the past, but takes time to highlight the rush of a relationship amongst the verses. “Led me to the floor even though I’m not a dancer/ Ask me all the questions that your parents wouldn’t answer/ How could I deny a diamond in the rough,” Dacus opens up, recounting the feelings of being swept up in the relationship. Singing through the story of the relationship and the past, however, Dacus once again finds sadness in her memories, knowing that it all comes to an end. She ends lyrically with the perfect summarization of nostalgia: “It’s bittersweet to see you again.” Finding solace in the end of the relationship and the rehashing of the past, Dacus is ready for change. While she found comfort in reminiscing on what could have been, she acknowledges the faults, and from this learns to grow.
While “Hot and Heavy” lyrically tends to focus on the longing involved in nostalgia, the song is quite upbeat sonically. Opening with a delicate synth line, a quiet guitar comes in, creating a sequence of events. Right before continuing into the verse, there is a burst of guitar and drums, before opening up into a pulsating percussive line that continues throughout the song. Embracing her pop sensibilities, “Hot and Heavy” marks a shift in Dacus’ sound, appearing more as an indie pop banger than the cathartic rock opuses she is known for.
“Hot and Heavy” combines lyrical prowess with sonic strength, making for one of the best singles of the year. Equally as heartbreaking and reminiscent, this single is an exciting look into the future of Dacus’ music, a place of exploration. Based off of this teaser, Home Video looks to be one of the most promising albums of the year.