Boygenius Returns with Exceptional Debut Album the record (Review)

Photo of members of boygenius

Boygenius photo. Photo courtesy of Matt Grubb

Faith Cooper, Reporter

Five years since the release of their self-titled EP, supergroup boygenius (Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker) united once again for the record.

       The album begins with “Without You Without Them”, a harmonious acapella. “Without You Without Them” establishes the vulnerability and intimacy of the record. The next track, “$20”, explodes with roaring guitars and vocals. The tenderness of Julien Baker’s voice is juxtaposed by Bridgers’ and Dacus’ grating harmonies. The end builds to a stunning crescendo of screams and drums. The energy of “$20” is refreshing, especially with “Emily I’m Sorry” lined up just behind. After an initial listen, “Emily I’m Sorry” feels like a B-side off of Bridgers’ solo project Punisher. The accompanying harmonies from Dacus and Baker, however, unite to create a boygenius classic. 

       The third track on the record is “True Blue”. “True Blue” is hushed, comforting, and unwaveringly tender. Dacus’ unique, warm timbre leads the track. Some may find the nearly five minute run time laborious, however, the affection and sincerity of “True Blue” makes it difficult to skip. Following “True Blue” is “Cool About It”. The acoustic backbone of the track allows room for heart-wrenching lyrics such as “I ask how you’re doing/ and I let you lie” and “I’ll pretend being with you doesn’t feel like drowning”. “Not Strong Enough”  remains true to boygenius’ lyrical prowess while being instantly hummable and more upbeat. “Revolution 0” follows. The track utilizes a string section, which beautifully accents the hopeless, bittersweet nature of the lyrics. While the next track, “Leonard Cohen”, is not likely to be a fan favorite, the jab at Leonard Cohen and the sweetness of “I never thought you’d happen to me” makes the track memorable, even if it feels like an interlude. “Satanist” thunders in next. The drums and droning guitar riff add an edge that calls back to the trio’s rock inspirations. 

       “We’re in Love” is another example of bare-bones production that shines light on exceptional lyrics. Dacus’ vocals glow and the strings return once again as she reflects on her beautiful friendship with her other two bandmates. A narrative-driven track, “Anti-Curse” follows. “Anti-Curse” features stand-out production and is yet another exceptional lyrical feat for the group. “Letter To An Old Poet” concludes the record. Both melodically and lyrically it echoes “Me and My Dog” from their EP. “Letter To An Old Poet” effectively closes the album with resilience and hope. The record is the musical love letter for you, and for your friends. It is an ode to intimacy, to vulnerability. And it is an exceptional debut for boygenius.