Boygenius’s The Record is a universal masterpiece

On March 31, 2023, boygenius, a band composed of the trio Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, and Phoebe Bridgers, released their highly anticipated debut album, the record. Their band and album name are purposefully uncapitalized as a stylistic choice. The album is comprised of twelve songs, with its three singles, “Not Strong Enough,” “True Blue,” and “Emily I’m Sorry” released at an earlier date. Each of these singles is led vocally by one member of the band with the others’ voices complementing each other through beautiful and gut-wrenching harmonies in the background.

This album is an exploration of friendship and relationships through the medium of angsty guitar riffs and melancholy lyrics that hit straight to the heart. The opening song, “Without You, Without Them” is an ode to their friendship and a vow of dedication to each other and the love that they have found. It sets the tone for the theme of platonic adoration that they feel for each other and emerges throughout the album. 

Their versatility as artists blend together to create and cultivate many contrasting emotions, from guttural screaming to gentle melodies. They belt out over energetic kick snares and guitar strums, “Black hole opened in the kitchen / Every clock’s a different time / It would only take the energy to fix it / I don’t know why I am / The way I am / Not strong enough to be your man,” in “Not Strong Enough,” a song where they explore a particular flavor of mental illness that they relate and struggle with. While in “Revolution 0” they sing poignantly, “I don’t wanna die, that’s a lie / But I’m afraid to get sick / I don’t know what that is.” Right when the listener thinks they know what to expect, the trio unexpectedly vamps up the mood and belts over the loud electric strums and funky beat of “Satanist” where they flippantly sing lyrics about anarchy, the devil, and the optimistic side of nihilism. 

Not only do the lyrical and musical genius of the three members come together in a spectacular whole, but the inspiring story behind the band and their journey also is a big appeal to listeners. Baker, Dacus, and Bridgers first met in 2016 when they each individually performed at a show together in Washington D.C. according to Rolling Stone. They became fast friends and decided to start writing music together, as each was already an established solo artist. Their viewerships came together to support the band, but since then have garnered even more recognition and praise, including big artists like Taylor Swift who posted on her Instagram story telling people to go and stream the new album. Their love for each other is part of what makes their music so cohesive and Bridgers stated in their interview with Rolling Stone that, “Lifting each other up [is] how we create. We all get the high of each other being in the front, which is so sick and has been the ethos of this band since day one.”

I personally have been a fan of Phoebe Bridgers for a long time and was an enjoyer of both Lucy Dacus’s and Julien Baker’s music. However, when I heard their first self-titled EP for the first time, I was not ready for how struck I would be by how well their musical styles and voices blended together. It brought my admiration for these women to another level. It gave me a fresh look into their stories and creations outside the lens of their familiar individual music. the record is undoubtedly one of my favorite collections of songs ever and it is able to cultivate a feeling that only boygenius can invoke. This summer, they are going on tour to various cities in the United States, including a show in Boston. Whether it is just a casual listen or an in-depth exploration of the album, it has made a mark on a lot of people’s lives and I would recommend it to everyone.

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