Arts, Music

Boygenius Makes a Triumphant Return With ‘The Record’


When it comes to music for a good cry, boygenius has got you covered. 

Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus have all individually cultivated a new side of indie music, but in 2018, the three joined forces to create their band boygenius. The group released its first full-length album, The Record, on March 31. 

The Record follows the band’s self-titled 2018 EP debut, which garnered appreciation from fans with hit tracks like “Bite The Hand” and “Me & My Dog.”

The new album illustrates life’s complexities of friendship, love, and healing while maintaining each artist’s individual style. Together, boygenius takes these unique sounds and unites them under one cohesive sonic landscape. 

The album’s first track, “Without You Without Them,” is a testament to history and family, the forces that make people who they are. Sung completely a cappella, the piece establishes the mellow tone of the album and emphasizes the band’s signature vocal blend in a simple three-part harmony. The lyrics highlight the mutual yet “mortifying ordeal of being known,” as expressed in Them’s article “The Infinite Gay Joy of Boygenius.” 

“I want to hear your story and be a part of it,” boygenius sings together. “I want you to hear my story and be a part of it.”

“Not Strong Enough” opens with bright guitar strums supplemented by a consistent percussion and an electric guitar descant, making it one of the album’s more upbeat tracks. Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus share the verses of the song, each providing a take on self-hatred and relationship insecurity before coming together in a crescendoing bridge of a repeated lyric. 

“Always an angel, never a god,” boygenius sings. 

The band released a music video with “Not Strong Enough,” shot by the three singers as they play arcade games, explore a cave, and impersonate statues at a museum. The mundane joy the friends experience in their normal day together contrasts the anxieties of the song seamlessly, implying that healthy relationships are possible despite that self-doubt.

The Record ends with “Letter To An Old Poet,” sung by Bridgers. In the background, Baker and Dacus provide rich, resonant harmonies as the song builds both sonically and emotionally. Midway through, the track interpolates boygenius’ previous release “Me & My Dog” in a more peaceful, piano-heavy interpretation. 

“Letter To An Old Poet” responds to the 2018 song, tracking Bridgers’ progress in healing from that same relationship. 

“I wanna be happy / I’m ready to walk into my room / without lookin’ for you,” Bridgers sings. 

With vocal support from the other two members, she concludes the album with a glimmer of optimism. 

“I can’t feel it yet / But I am waiting,” Bridgers sings.

The song leaves the listener in the right place: newfound empowerment and cathartic hope for healing.

The Record feels like an artist’s support group. The three singers share the spotlight, each tackling their own issues lyrically with musical support from the others. The friendship between the artists is strongly evident as the struggles they vocalize become more bearable when they’re sung together. Let The Record show that collaboration between Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus is another stroke of genius. 

April 10, 2023