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Analysis of “Triple Dog Dare” by Lucy Dacus

By: Kathie Chu

This song is about Lucy growing up queer in a small town and her relationship with her friend from high school. In the first verse, she describes a walk with her friend. The song says, “You're dancing in the aisle 'cause the radio is singing you a song you know,” implying that Lucy sees her friend as the center of the world because the radio doesn’t really sing people songs. This verse introduces the relationship Lucy has with the girl.

The second verse is about how this girl's mother doesn’t want them to be around each other. “Your mama read my palm/ she wouldn't tell me what it was she saw/ but after that, you weren't allowed to spend the night.” The lines describe how the girl’s mother suspected their relationship was more than friendship and didn’t allow them to be around each other. Lucy feels betrayed by her hands because she didn’t even act on the feelings she had towards her friend. But her friend’s mom saw what could have been and shut it down immediately.

The third verse describes the homophobia and prejudice they faced in their small town.

Because of the church in her town, Lucy’s friend was scared to die and scared that they were cursed because being queer in their small town was unacceptable. The third verse also describes Lucy’s fantasy of running away from their small town to live on her family’s boat.

Running away is a fantasy that young queer people often have because of homophobia. The verse ends with Lucy saying, “It's a triple dog dare, you're a chicken if you don't/ I can fish for our food, and you know how to start a flame/If you don't get out now, you'll only have yourself to blame.” This is the first time the name of the song is referenced and the first time Lucy blames her friend.

The bridge is just a repetition of the words “triple dog dare,” and it references the fact that this is the ultimate dare and a very important decision: should the girl embrace her queerness? The outro is the only part of the song that is entirely fictional and describes what would have happened if they actually ran away and continues to highlight the mother’s homophobia.

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