boygenius’ “the record” is even better than the EP


boygenius exceeds expectations with “the record.” (Courtesy of Twitter)

The indie-rock band boygenius — made up of independent musicians Phoebe Bridgers, Julian Baker and Lucy Dacus — recently released their debut studio album titled “the record.” Even though this was their debut album, the band did not disappoint. 

As an avid indie music listener, this album has been on repeat for me since its release. After their extremely popular EP came out in 2018, this album was highly anticipated and may even be better than their EP. 

The album begins with a song titled, “Without You Without Them,” reminding us of the importance of appreciating the people around you and those who made you who you are today. A constant line throughout the song is, “what would I be without them.” This song is probably the opposite of what you would expect to hear from this band — the melancholic ballad was sung a capella with eerily beautiful vocals.

“$20,” a song that is a stark contrast to the first one, played next. Going from the beautiful a capella ballad to this indie-rock song was unexpected, but not unappreciated. The sound was much more similar to their previous album, and it really highlighted Bridgers’ vocal range. 

My personal favorite song on the album is the final track, “Letter To An Old Poet.” If you have been listening to Bridgers’ independent work for a while now, you would immediately be able to hear the similarities between this song and her own works. The song is heartbreakingly beautiful and the soft backing vocals from Dacus and Baker gives the song an almost angelic feeling. It reflects on a toxic relationship with the lyrics going from her accepting the love that she is currently receiving to her realizing that this is not how a relationship should be. Bridgers sings, “You think you’re a good person because you won’t punch me in the stomach and I love you, I don’t know why, I just do.” She sings about how, in her past relationship, her partner made her believe that they were equals when really they never were, and she’s now realized that her ex was not a good person to her, and she deserved better.

A close second to “Letters To An Old Poet” is “Cool About It,” the fifth track on the album. This song is essentially about trying to act “cool about it” even when everything is not okay — when we don’t say what we want to say and pretend that everything is fine, even though we know it’s not. To me, it encapsulates the feelings of being too much but also never being enough for someone and just not knowing where you stand in a relationship. Each verse is sung separately by Baker, then Dacus, and lastly Bridgers with them all meeting again to sing in unison at the chorus. The soft vocals and acoustic guitar add to the overall experience of the song. 

One of the most popular songs from the album is titled, “Emily I’m Sorry.” The title of the song, and many of the lyrics, refer to a previous relationship that Bridgers had with a woman named Emily. While the song is obviously about Bridgers apologizing for what she did wrong in the relationship, it is also about the uncertainties and insecurities that can come in a relationship, especially when you feel like the relationship might be coming to an end. 

Despite only going into detail about a few of the songs from the album, every song is a work of art. I feel like it can be hard to come out with a really great album following a very successful EP, however they exceeded my expectations and this album has now become one of my favorites of all time.