In the golden age of collaborations and featured artists on verses, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus made the bold decision to reform as a ‘supergroup’. Having initially formed back in 2018, boygenius would be understated as a side project, coming back this time around as nothing less than an indie rock band, with three powerhouse vocalists and storytelling lyricists.
After years of anticipation, the trio finally gave fans the full length record they’ve all been waiting for- humorously titled „the record“. Alongside their release is „the film“ directed by Hollywood actress Kristen Stewart. The longform video showcases the three songs, „$20’“, „Emily, I’m Sorry“ and „True Blue“ with each song led by a different band member, the other girls help them overcome whatever struggle it is they’re facing in the song. From sharing blood, to making out on the floor and lying in bed together, the film clearly demonstrates the strong bond the trio have and their deep love for one another. Not to mention, it’s a lesbian fan’s dream.
Fearlessly, „the record“ begins in true girl band form, with the harmonious a capella track „Without You Without Them“, but unlike the female-fronted bands that came before them, this one’s far more grittier. With raw, seemingly uncut vocals, this opening exudes the feeling of a folk song, making it the perfect primer for the rest of the album. Before you get a second to breathe, the alternative rock sound comes crashing in, with the guitar-heavy song, „$20“. The track is overflowing with twenty-something daredevil, adventurous energy led by Julien Baker and the harrowing screams of Phoebe Bridgers as the song fades out. It’s at this point that you know the record is a real mixed bag of sounds and emotions, covering all aspects of each member’s taste and abilities, to create an unexpectedly cohesive record.
The apologetic and melancholy song „Emily, I’m sorry“ tells a story of insecurity in a relationship that’s breaking down. Filled with such uncertainty in lines like „Can we make it up as we go along?“ and “I’m 27 and I don’t know who I am”, this song is a continuation of the overarching theme of the album: navigating life and love in your 20’s. The track perfectly encompasses that persistent feeling of failure when another relationship comes to an end.
After their single „True Blue“ that contains the poetic line and a personal favourite “you say you’re a winter bitch but summer’s in your blood. You can’t help but become the sun” we are met with the standout track „Cool About It“. The simplistic, acoustic production has what sounds like a country banjo playing, producing the perfect backdrop to the heart wrenching lines ‘‘I can walk you home and practice method acting, I’ll pretend being with you doesn’t feel like drowning“. Having to bite your tongue and seamlessly act unbothered by the way someone is making you feel, are all traits associated with being the ‘cool girl’. A concept doing the rounds online, having originated from the book „Gone Girl“, the ‘cool girl’ is a woman doing all she can to not seem crazy. Their continuation of this concept is relatable for so many women dating in their twenties, and soundbites of the song are already making their way into Tik Toks.
But the genius doesn’t stop there. „the record“ takes you back down to a pit of heartbreak once again with the song „Revoluion 0“. This track is enriched with the purest of harmonies as Phoebe Bridgers takes the lead on vocals and delivers tragic lines like „If this isn’t love then what the fuck is?” and „I used to think if I’d just close my eyes, I will disappear.“
Before you know it, it’s time to lace up your Doc Martens and reignite your teen angst once again with the song „Satanist“. The trio trade verses as they tell a rebellious story about trying to score some ecstasy, as Bridgers delivers harrowing screams that create an illusion of sirens.
Throughout the record you are taken on a rollercoaster journey of emotions and it starts in the same way it ends, with their raw, harmonious vocals – this time, accompanied by a piano.The album draws to a close with the tragically beautiful „Letter To An Old Poet“, vocals led by Phoebe Bridgers again in what seems to be an autobiographical, soft ballad. Ending on a hopeful note that despite all of the heartbreak, she is ready to experience happiness again, as demonstrated in the line „Iwant to be happy, I’m ready…I can’t feel it yet but I am waiting.„