“Not Strong Enough” to Wait for “the record”


Boygenius’ latest single “Not Strong Enough” only further excites fans for their upcoming album “the record.” (Courtesy of Twitter)

As an avid Phoebe Bridgers fan, I will support any endeavors she pursues — especially when it is in combination with two other immensely talented artists, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker. The three musicians, while continuing their individual careers, formed their band entitled boygenius in 2018 with the release of their self-titled debut EP, which is home to many favorites such as “Me & My Dog” and “Souvenir.” On Jan. 18, after a five year hiatus, the band released three new songs that will reside on their debut album, “the record.” Each of the three artists produced the lead vocals for one song, which creates a collaborative feel to boygenius that is often lacking from other bands with a solo lead vocalist. 

The most recent release is titled “Not Strong Enough,” which has quickly shot to the top of my Spotify statistics since its addition to the growing album on March. 1. Unlike the three songs that precede this single, “Not Strong Enough” highlights Bridgers, Baker and Dacus as lead vocalists at different sections of the song. Because each of the artists have wildly differing sounds, this choice provides depth to the song, which I cannot get enough of. The breadth of their vocals is paired with the band’s apparent closeness to each other, revealed heavily in the music video for the song. The three artists produced the video themselves, and it is reminiscent of a home video. Bridgers, Dacus and Baker recorded their adventures at various locations such as an amusement park, a beach and a museum, and the viewer can feel their comfortability with one another through the screen. The genuineness of their smiles and free-spirited energy is contagious. I have a soft spot for a beautiful portrayal of female friendship, and this left me sentimental for the mutual love between the artists. 

The song speaks to feelings I’m sure many would attest to experiencing. An impending spiral is sensed through lyrics such as “I don’t know why I am / the way I am,” and “spinning out about things that haven’t / happened.” Hearing the emotions associated with a panic attack against an energetic melody sparks a unique feeling, one pairing comfort with the brewing madness. Moving into the bridge, Dacus incites a repetition of the line, “Always an angel, never a god,” as Bridgers and Baker join in. The intensity of their voices swells, while feelings of frustration underlie in the line. I was particularly drawn to this lyric and the identifiable anger towards gender that it represents. Repeatedly in the chorus the artists sing, “Not strong enough to be your man,” displaying themes of falling short for a lover. They will never be able to provide for a significant other in the way they need. This paired with the repeated bridge lyric points to a resentment of femininity. They feel constrained to the borders of womanhood. Feminine gentleness leaves women in the category of “angel” as opposed to “god,” which is typically reserved for masculine power. The whole song follows discontentment with oneself in terms of a romantic pursuit, which is a common feeling to resonate with.

When listening to the released songs, I always have a different favorite, which indicates I will thoroughly enjoy the album. Boygenius is a refreshing take on musicians collaborating on productions. The union of their band is due purely to a mesh of personalities and the authenticity of their relationship takes precedence, something their fans can clearly identify and love in their music. In addition to enjoying boygenius’ music, I have ventured deep into the discographies of Dacus and Baker. Their unparalleled voices and production sounds contribute greatly to the work of boygenius. March 31 is a day I am (not so) patiently awaiting, and in the meantime, I will continue to stream “Not Strong Enough” on loop.