A Preview of Boygenius’ Sophomore Album “The Record”


The new trilogy of songs from the Boygenius trio lives up to their 2018 self-titled EP. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Boygenius, an indie-rock group formed in 2018 and comprised of solo singers Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, just released a collection of singles under the name “the record.” These singles tease the release of an LP in March under the same name. I’d like to think I was the first person to listen to the singles since I anxiously awaited the point at which the clock would display the time signaling midnight. 

All three members of the group have been equally involved in the songwriting process, and it’s been that way since the band was formed. The idea to release music together in addition to separately as solo artists came from a desire to reject the notion that women must be pitted against each other in the music industry to break past the male-dominated scene and be noticed. The name “boygenius” was generated based on the idea that men are often told from a young age that they are geniuses, while women are taught to be unsure of their own ideas and view them as inferior to the ideas of the man in front of them. Baker, Bridgers and Dacus convey the idea that during songwriting or any creative process, women must trust their ideas and be the “boy genius.” 

Three singles were released teasing this LP, with one single being written primarily by each member of the band. This is consistent with the release of their EP, in which the album allotted an equal number of songs for each artist — two per singer. The first single listed, titled “$20,” was written primarily by Julien Baker. In this song she recounts being drawn to arson, as there was little to do growing up in Tennessee as a teenager and craved self-destruction due to her unhappiness with the current political climate. Bridgers screams the final line of the song, “I know you have twenty dollars” in a way that is reminiscent of the outro to her song “I Know the End” off her album “Punisher.” I think the way in which the line is delivered perfectly encapsulates pain and frustration towards what you are not in control of and cannot change.

“Emily I’m Sorry,” written primarily by Phoebe Bridgers, is a melancholy song recounting the loss of a complicated relationship as well as the loss of self to fame and success. Throughout the song Bridgers continuously apologizes to the person in which she was in a relationship with and asks for forgiveness. I had to pause at this point before listening to the next track, because the tone of the song and the sorrowful outro made me feel the emotions that Bridgers must have felt in the writing process. I’ve always been able to connect deeply with the themes and emotions she presents in her songs, and I’ve always been drawn to her writing style. She’s able to paint vivid pictures of both past and present scenes, full of longing and desperation. 

“True Blue” was the last track released, and it is written primarily by Lucy Dacus. This song demonstrates Dacus’ ability to observe others and understand them fully. The person she’s writing about insists that they’re meant for the winter, but Dacus insists that despite this belief, summer is in the person’s blood due to their birth being in the summer. “True Blue” is largely about trying to cover up who you truly are by crafting a persona so that people can’t get close to you. This is something many teenagers do in order to fit in better or appear as a more likable version of themselves. Dacus sings “I can’t hide from you like I hide from myself” implying that she can see her friend for they are, and in turn, the friend is able to do the same. Dacus feels that it’s better to truly be known by those around you, and Baker and Bridgers share this sentiment as they join her in singing the line “It feels good to be known so well.”

There is a sense of solidarity between Baker, Bridgers and Dacus in terms of the way in which they view the world, themselves, others and how they express their emotions. All three singers include many melancholy themes that border on despair within their songs, but below this is a message of hope that things will get better and even sad memories can be bittersweet. Past experiences do not determine your future. The message I’ve gotten from these singles is that people come and go, and with loss comes pain, but if you surround yourself with people who understand you fully and accept what you cannot change, you will never be truly alone or unhappy.