Here's our look at the new Boygenius record.
Date published: 31st Mar 2023
Boygenius is the collaboration between three of indie music's three greatest stars. Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker are all fantastic songwriters in their own right, each able to conjure lyrics that resonate with the very deepest and guttural emotions that we have. In 2018 they released a self-titled EP that showed just how in sync their voices can be.
Now we find ourselves with a full-length album called 'The Record', with the trio's platforms being bigger than ever it is fair to say that they are the great modern supergroup. Here, we dive into their debut album track by track.
Without You Without Them
The three plunge straight into a vocal harmony, with each voice standing its own ground against the others. The bond that the three have is undoubtedly tangible on record. There's no instrumentation needed here as they use vocal delicacy and melody alone to deliver the first song.
The guitar kicks in here, as Baker takes the lead on this track. Bridgers wails in the background like the echo of someone long gone. "In another life, we were arsonists" they declare in unison. The riffs hit the spot, oscillating with a bite of discontent.
Emily I'm Sorry
The members each brought their own songs when it came to making the album, with them helping each other to complete songs that were just missing that extra something. This is a song that screams that it was written by the pen of Bridgers as she takes the vocal lead, as she viscerally describes spiralling out, fond memories and pleads for forgiveness and redemption. "I'm 27 and I don't know who I am" is probably all too relatable a lyric for some people.
Of course, it is now the turn of Dacus to hold the torch of the lead melody. "You say you're a winter bitch but summer's in your blood" is just one of many memorable lines on this track. The instrumentals swirl so powerfully that it feels like you're just fading completely into the sound.
Cool About It
Pleasant finger-plucked acoustic guitar is met by the voice of Baker as she describes a time when she ended up being embarrassed. The pair pick up the lines from each other so seamlessly. Bridgers is sure that she now has the ability to read somebody's mind, able to know when they're lying.
Not Strong Enough
The synth lines here are absolutely gorgeous, as we're greeted by a completely euphoric sound. "I'm not strong enough to be your man", Bridgers sighs. It's the kind of song that completely holds you within its grasp, the chorus is the kind of emotional outpouring that makes them such special songwriters, all of a sudden a wave of relief washes over you, you're screaming in unison with these people almost as if you're the fourth member of the band.
We interrupt as Bridgers is having a conversation with herself. She vows to get revenge on those who hurt the voice in her head. "If it isn't love then what the f*ck is it?" they ask. She admits that her attitude of being unafraid of death isn't true as her fear of getting sick contradicts it. She weaves stories from the internal battles that wage inside on the daily.
A short track that sees Dacus' commanding yet warm voice tell of the bond between the group. The fact that they know each other so well is perfectly presented here, the in-jokes and experiences that they've had together result in a friendship that feels like a romance. Whilst making an ode to and making fun of an iconic songwriter too.
This almost feels like a grunge track, such is the messy bite that comes through the discordant track. It is a trademark of Baker's skill as a guitarist that she makes the instrument feel like a beast of its own. They have fantasies of an uprising against the bourgeois, flicking between nihilism, arson and other branches of philosophy at will.
We're In Love
Here, Dacus ponders really knowing someone and what real connection is. A light piano track sits in the background accompanied by the scratches of guitar strings. Such is the talent of the writing here that it paints a perfect picture in your head, it is perfectly descriptive.
"Making peace with my inevitable death" Baker agonises as this track starts to fire up. One of the most chaotic backings on 'The Record', it is a song that contorts with pain, with Baker never being one to shy away from showing pain on record.
Letter To An Old Poet
"You said my music is mellow, maybe I'm just exhausted" Bridgers exhales on the closing track. We hear her profess her love without having a clue why she has those feelings even admitting that this guy is "evil". She's ready to move on from him however and emphasises that. There are plenty of nice little references to her previous songs here.
Overall, this is going to be one of the best records of the year. 'The Record' is what you get when three absolutely brilliant minds come together. It is understated how much of an influence that these three have had on indie music over the last few years and with 'The Record', we will surely be looking back at this as a key stepping stone to the rest of the rock music we will hear throughout the decade. Poignantly emotional, full of memorable lyrics and equally brilliant instrumentals, you couldn't really ask for much more. Their bond and friendship breathes so much life into these songs and this album is a permanent cast of that.
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