Who wouldn’t want to make music with your best friends? The band Boygenius may seem to casual listeners like just another indie group. In reality, they are a supergroup composed of some of the most recognizable names in the indie genre—Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker. That’s right, everyone’s favorite artists to cry to are in a band together and they have just released their first studio album, The Record.
Before this debut, the only collaboration that the group had was their EP Boygenius, which was comprised of six songs that they wrote in the span of four days. This EP was released in 2018 with the name of the EP and the group coming from the idea of men being encouraged to create anything they want regardless of if it is good. Boygenius is a pure passion project for the three women and the theme of their music is love. However, this is not a love that is traditionally sung about in the croons of spurned romantics, but the purity of friends creating love letters to each other for when they are apart.
The Record is no different from their EP, with each line being full of inside references and jokes. The album is about how their lives are shaped by one another, uniquely expressing the unspoken admiration that women feel for each other.
“Without You Without Them” is the first song on the album and instead of starting with a bang, Boygenius instead comes in with haunting harmonies echoing in a space unfilled by instrumental. It is just their voices, and it makes it even more impactful as they intimately connect to share their heartfelt gratitude for the people who have guided them. Without those that came before them, they would not have the passion for music that they possess and Boygenius is genius in expressing this by showcasing the voices given to them by their parents.
In “$20,” Bridgers, Dacus, and Baker each have a different role to play in the song and yet they complement and uplift each other. Even as one of them screams, she does not overpower the song. This shows their vocal skill and the true beauty of the Boygenius pairing.
Their usual tear-inducing styles come out in “Emily I’m Sorry,” “True Blue,” and “We’re In Love,” the combination of their vocals serving to haunt the listeners heart even more than their solo music. “Cool About It” follows with a different sound as Boygenius turns to folk acoustic reminiscent of Baker’s Tennessee roots. It is also my favorite song on the album and can be best expressed as a combination of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” and Miley Cyrus’s “Butterfly Fly Away.”
The biggest diversion from their soft songs is “Satanist.” The magic in both this song and “Leonard Cohen” come from their deep references to things that create an inside joke with any aware audience, bringing the listener into the Boygenius friendship circle. “Letter To An Old Poet” ends the album quietly with Bridgers singing about recovery from romance with the help of friends.
This album is important because it is expresses topics that are not often covered within music. It is about family, both blood and found, and when romantic relationships are brought up, they are discussed within the framework of support and friendships. Bridgers, Dacus, and Baker make each other better with their complementary voices but also in their friendship and support that inspires them to take chances regardless of the outcome. Boygenius makes an impact because you can feel the emotion and love from all three women. They are making music for each other and not a distant third party, it is intimate and special.
Photo credits from: genius.com