Featured Posts

To top
1 Apr

Roundtable: A Review of boygenius’ ‘the record’

Atwood Magazine’s writers ugly cry as they unpack the emotional baggage behind boygenius’ ‘the record’ – the heartfelt, deeply wrought, and stunningly strong debut album from the supergroup of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus.
featured listed here are Atwood writers Sophie Severs, Nic Nichols, Kevin Krein, Josh Weiner, Kylie Gurewitz, Beau Hayhoe, and Oliver Crook!

— —

To start out, what’s your relationship with boygenius’ music?

Kevin Krein: I used to be aware of Julien Baker when Sprained Ankle dropped originally and she or he began to get numerous press, but I truthfully was in a spot at the tip of 2015, where I just was unable to provide that record the effort and time I perhaps must have. In 2017, shortly before Stranger In The Alps was released, I saw a headline from The AV Club that said something to the effect of it being the saddest album of the 12 months, and that Phoebe Bridgers was kind of an heir to the throne of Elliott Smith, which was enough to get me interested.

Roughly around the identical time, Baker released her second album, Turn Out The Lights, and I used to be immediately taken by how honest and bleak it was—and really entered into my era of listening to sad young women making sad music for sad white people

Lucy Dacus released Historian within the spring of 2018, and I liked it — inherently it just isn’t as sad, or somber, on the surface as either Stranger or Turn Out The Lights was, but there may be wealthy soulfulness to Dacus’ voice, and I actually admired how audacious of a track one/side one, and lead single “Night Shift” was, just by way of the way it shifts from one movement, into the opposite, with a lot of it being just her and the guitar, before the remaining of the band comes slamming down for the catharsis at the tip.

I gasped out loud in my home when the unique self-titled EP was announced in the summertime of 2018, with a late autumn release, after which the accompanying tour featuring Dacus because the “opener” and Bridgers and Baker co-headlining. With all of their respective solo outings really growing in scope and profile over the past three or 4 years, I used to be uncertain what type of priority, if any in any respect, could be given to resurrecting boygenius as a band, and the way they’d proceed with it in the event that they did.

Beau Hayhoe: I believe like many boygenius listeners, I got here across the group through the sum of its parts – first falling in love with Julien Baker’s sparse, lovely-yet-heartbreaking Sprained Ankle, then Stranger within the Alps by Phoebe Bridgers, then finally coming around to Lucy Dacus’ music. And by the point the debut hit the airwaves, I used to be fully onboard and so excited.

I believe like most listeners, that debut offering left me wanting more – playing to every singer’s strengths, giving them room to shine and letting small flourishes stand out in big ways (“Souvenir” especially still crushes me).

 It was incredibly cool to see the trio play solo sets on tour back in the autumn of 2018 (Lucy, then Julien, then Phoebe), before they returned as boygenius for the encore – an indication of greater and higher things to return!

Kylie Gurewitz: I used to be an enormous fan of Lucy Dacus before boygenius, and while Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker were each on my radar, I didn’t know either of their catalogs super well. A friend of mine sent me the primary boygenius EP shortly after it got here out, and I loved it. Ketchum, ID, really stood out to me, which totally put me onto Phoebe’s songwriting. I remember listening to Punisher the day that it got here out mid-lockdown and Black Lives Matter protests, and just being blown away — that is unquestionably one in every of my favorite albums of all time. I actually like Julien’s songwriting, but I’ll confess that I don’t know her solo discography quite in addition to the opposite two.

I like the three of them individually, but there’s something magical about boygenius, and I all the time hoped they’d make more music together. It’s been interesting being a fan over the previous couple of years, as corporations and the world at large have tried to commodify this genre of “sad-girl-indie” music that these artists actively try to withstand. But you possibly can’t pigeonhole boygenius, that’s needless to say.

Sophie Severs: boygenius’ music has all the time been the right soundtrack for all times’s most emotionally raw moments — moments of transition and immense emotional upheaval. Their entire discography is one which should be closely listened to; as their lyrics hold nuances that practically beg to be analyzed. But be warned: before you think that too hard concerning the implications of those lyrics, you higher grab some tissues, as you would possibly find yourself shedding a pair (or lots) of tears.

At times, their discography almost seems so as to add insult to injury, bringing thoughts that lie deep inside your psyche as much as the surface for close examination. The three appear to have the miraculous ability of describing exactly what I’m feeling for me once I can’t appear to summon the rhetoric to accomplish that myself — thanks, guys!

I remember adding “Souvenir” to one in every of my playlists once I was within the midst of determining whether a relationship I used to be in was truly good for me or not, and how one can fathom getting out of it if it turned out to be the latter — a question that Baker, Bridgers, Dacus also ponder throughout the themes of the record. Dacus and Bridgers harmonize at the tip of the last verse, singing, “If you cut a hole into my skull / Do you hate what you see? / Like I do” — a phrase that captured my frustrations at myself and my anxieties around this relationship that was, in theory, alleged to be something that brought me unlimited joy. In the long run, things didn’t find yourself understanding for me and my partner on the time, but my relationship with boygenius was strengthened tenfold, and hey, that’s ok for me!

Nic Nichols: I’m likely the minority here, as I stumbled across boygenius before I took the time to delve seriously into any of the person artists’ discographies. The primary EP type of spun around my friend circle at an important point of transition for all of us, and I believe we attached seamlessly to the emotional intimacy of the sound. From there it became kind of a scavenger hunt for me as I attempted to deconstruct the project and determine the source of every element.

I believe from this point I became much more of a fan, as there wasn’t a singular voice or style that shoved above the remaining. Dacus’ sharp guitar blends seamlessly with Baker’s calculated introspection and Bridgers’ haunting, velvet musings. The collaboration was each a no brainer and electrifyingly exciting, but I assumed it to be a standalone project to be appreciated from a distance because the artists’ respective essences continued to mature. The announcement of a full album was definitely not on my 2023 bingo card, but I used to be immediately desirous to see how well their original synastry held up.

Josh Weiner: Well, I feel just a little humiliated staring down these long-winded answers about my colleagues’ ages-old ties to boygenius… but frankly, I don’t think I’d ever heard of this group until just now! I had heard about Phoebe Bridgers needless to say and enjoyed a few of her music, which left me inclined to take part in this roundtable.. However the names “boygenius,” “Lucy Dacus,” and “Julien Baker” were hitherto completely foreign to me.

Nevertheless, if I were only willing to cover artists with whom I had previously been acquainted, I might have amassed far fewer than 200 reviews throughout my eight years as an Atwood staff author. Plus, I repeatedly enjoy collaborating in these roundtables, in order that didn’t prevent me from signing on for one more one. Here goes nothing….

Oliver Crook: Truthfully, that is my first deep dive into boygenius: To my everlasting shame, I one way or the other completely missed the EP. While I’m an enormous fan of Bridgers’ Punisher, and Baker’s Sprained Ankle, I feel like a relative newcomer to the deeper work of all of the musicians. On the intense side, the record has began an enormous quest down the musical rabbit hole for me.

What are your immediate reactions to the record?

Beau Hayhoe: I believe the record does exactly what it got down to do – play to the strengths of every while showing how well they play off one another together as singers and songwriters. It’s almost as if the trio is in perfect lock-step – you possibly can tell they’ve got a special bond and friendship, one which’s grown around and since of music, and sure grown stronger through the music. I believe it comes through immediately, and I believe each has left a singular sonic imprint from song to song. I’d like to be in a room (or on a Zoom call?) as they work out arrangements and share song ideas (and digital files?) backwards and forwards.

Kylie Gurewitz: I used to be (secretly) afraid that it couldn’t live as much as the primary EP, or the solo work, but I didn’t must be. There have been so many moments on the primary listen that blew me away; from guitar build-ups to stunning harmonies to gut punches within the songwriting. Compared to the 2018 EP, which was recorded in just a few days, with a small group of individuals, this record doesn’t have the identical type of raw intimacy within the sound, nevertheless it maintains that feeling through the lyricism and the moments that sound like little voice memos that got tossed in the combination, like on “Satanist.”

Sophie Severs: I mostly felt distraught after my initial listen. The best way that the three grapple with this notion of affection and try to make sense of it and define it’s so deeply upsetting while also being incredibly eye-opening. This body of labor is equally as much a private attack because it is a therapy session (albeit, the 2 definitely overlap at times). You get this strong sense of catharsis from every track; and despite the fact that the album ends on an emotionally-ruinous song, you come out on the opposite end feeling just a little more healed than you were before you began.

Nic Nichols: The word that immediately involves mind with that is “peripheral”. You end up pulled into an all-encompassing feeling, then immediately jerked back again to a different jaw-snapping career. They looked as if it would have elevated their relationship through the years; what originated still as an incredibly fluid mix of artistry now acts as an amplifier to their respective talents, while still maintaining the magic that sets each of them apart within the genre. It’s each an intervention and a trigger; by its end you’re emotionally exhausted in the easiest way.

Josh Weiner: It’s a mighty tremendous record! I used to be impressed to see it notch a remarkably high rating on Metacritic, and I’m pleased to say that those positive reviews are entirely justified, giving the supreme musicianship and effortless transition between exciting and mellow ambiance right through its 42-minute runtime.

Oliver Crook: True, deep love. It’s a near-perfect exercise in balance and control: It tackles serious topics with enough humour to stay self-aware, it’s folky while knowing when to rock, it allows each star to shine while maintaining it’s unique boygenius sound. Baker, Bridgers and Dacus were clearly untethered from expectations and cozy enough with each to drive out of their comfort zones and create something greater than themselves. I’m impressed by how much personality they can fit on the album.

Kevin Krein: My immediate response is that that is probably the most emotionally upsetting record of 2023. Like, I’m certain that The National’s recent joint may even be relatively emotional at times, but numerous The Record is 100% an act of emotional terrorism and that’s the reason I find it irresistible.

Boygenius © Matt Grubb

How do you’re feeling Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus have grown as songwriters since boygenius’ debut in 2018? Where are you able to hear that growth on the record?

Kylie Gurewitz: From a listener’s perspective, it looks like working together has given each artist greater license to take risks, and take themselves just a little less seriously at times. In a W Magazine interview concerning the first EP, Dacus said, “I feel a 3rd of the pressure, and thrice the enjoyment.” A lot of the writing on the record strikes me as deeply unapologetic, like each member has given the others license to utterly go for it. I believe that thread was present in 2018, but now it feels established as a key component of the songwriting, which you possibly can absolutely hear on “$20” and “Letter to an Old Poet.”

Sophie Severs: The arrangements in the record tackle a harder, more rock-leaning soundscape than their self-titled debut EP — sounds that the three have respectively been honing inside their very own solo careers. Baker, Bridgers and Dacus appear to be completely in sync throughout the 12 tracks; weaving bits and pieces of their very own artistic inclinations into the grand tapestry that’s the record. Each member divulges a particularly authentic portrait of their individual psyches, but plainly they’re unafraid to delve into this vulnerable space — as long as they’ve each other there through the experience.

Nic Nichols: There’s a comfort in these lyrics that one can only attribute to years of communication and earnest collaboration. Listening to Dacus’ Home Video felt akin to cutting through an autopilot persona with a razor-sharp knife and showcased an analogous newfound assuredness and acute directness in her lyrics. Julien Baker’s progression, in my view, can most clearly be seen in her composition. Little Oblivions was an absolute masterclass, and Baker’s use of percussion entirely elevated my perspective of the instrument. Punisher’s momentum never once stalled since its 2020 release, and for good reason. It’s hauntingly cathartic and situated itself firmly as an integral artifact of the time. the record has an analogous aura; it already almost feels nostalgic.

Oliver Crook: There feels to be such a much bigger willingness to push the sound’s edges and take more risks. I might never call any of their solo albums protected, however the record has an unspoken strength to it that comes from being pushed by those that you’re closest to and respect.

I keep coming back to this quote from Dacus: “If one person was having a thought—‘I don’t know if this is sweet, it’s probably terrible’— it was like, ‘No! Be the boy genius! Your every thought is worth it, just spit it out.’” I feel this comes across on a regular basis on the record, as you possibly can hear the moments that previously they’d have held back as an alternative of driving on into the unknown. Take that lovely moment in “Revolution 0” where Bridgers sings “I used to think/If I’d just close my eyes/I’d disappear” and the song fades out, before the strings and guitars roar back in a dreamlike drift. Not only is it stunning, nevertheless it’s a moment that only fearless artists would attempt.

Beau Hayhoe: For those who give it some thought an excessive amount of, it’s almost astounding how each of them have grown in their very own ways since that 2018 debut. I’ve (perhaps) been most impressed by what Julien Baker has done along with her stage show and her absolutely crushing 2021 record Little Oblivions – to see what she will do with a full band behind her is inspiring. And you possibly can definitely tell each Lucy and Phoebe have grown leaps and bounds, too – Phoebe’s popularity as a newly minted indie star gone (nearly) mainstream speaks to that.

To me, the songs and arrangements are denser, louder and yet more intricate – the debut EP felt sparse at times, in an awesome way, and yet there’s more complexity at play across this full LP. 

Kevin Krein: Watching the expansion, and I mean specifically with Bridgers to start out with, has been impressive. Punisher, just in its complex and dense arranging, continues to be really something to behold, even three years after it was released. Moreover, it was natural for Baker to introduce a “full band” sound on Little Oblivions; you may hear her type of dabbling with it in one-off singles from 2019, and it has added numerous sharpness and depth to her songwriting. Dacus, on Home Videos, like each Baker and Bridgers, has really embraced using more textural elements—like moody synthesizers, interesting effects, or similar to writing songs that eventually find yourself growing into something much larger than she can have been capable of pull off with such ease prior to now. I believe that type of growth and maturation may be heard on The Record in each the way it sounds—it’s slick and filled with like subtle studio trickery, but in doing that, it meets everyone where they are actually, and none of like the massive or bombastic sounding moments seem insincere, but additionally within the very ambiguous confessional nature of the lyricism, within the song where it is evident that one person had more of a hand in writing it, and within the tunes where there may be a balance between all three voice and what they contribute. It takes numerous intelligence to craft these kinds of private narratives but not play your entire hand while still sharing a lot of yourself.

Josh Weiner: As mentioned above, I’d never heard of boygenius (or any of its members except for Phoebe Bridgers) before this record got here out. By extension, I used to be oblivious to the undeniable fact that that they had indeed released a debut EP in 2018– frankly, if all they’d previously released was one 20-minute EP five years ago, then I feel less embarrassed by the undeniable fact that I’d never heard of this group until just now.

If this roundtable article didn’t have such a decent deadline (i.e. be due tomorrow when the album actually comes out), then I’d take the time to take heed to boygenius and get some thorough reflection as to how the EP and LP compare to at least one one other. But since that ain’t gonna occur, I’ll just say this: On condition that their first EP got here out five years ago and so they’ve done great things individually since then (take a look at Phoebe Bridgers’ highly impressive Metacritic scores, as an example), then I’m sure that the follow-up LP demonstrates much more musical expertise and sonic cohesion than they managed back in 2018. Hopefully soon enough, I’ll have a correct listen simply to see whether that’s indeed the case.


:: REVIEW ::

boygenius © Shervin Lainez

All three artists have also released albums since boygenius’ debut. How does the record compare to their solo work? Where do you’re feeling the collaborative identity of boygenius shines brightest?

Sophie Severs: The track that best addresses this query is probably “Cool About It.” Baker, Bridgers and Dacus all take up a verse, sharing their different experiences in a working dialogue; patiently sorting through their insecurities and emotional processes. While they may need different sonic tendencies and things to bring to the table, they’re brought together by these universal feelings.

Because the three say in “True Blue,” “It feels good to be known so well” — and I can only hope that the lyric was partially, a reference to their friendship. The love between these three friends shines through every track, whereas with their solo projects, one can get a way of cold isolation in these inescapable feelings that they’re describing on their lonesome. As a united front, boygenius unabashedly confronts these less-than-optimal feelings, leading the charge for his or her listeners to do the identical.

Nic Nichols: I keep coming back to the lyrics, but the record is really a standout by way of its material and the wedding of perspectives through which it’s conveyed. When the unique three songs first released, though the punchy guitars in $20 lean more toward my preferred sound, ‘Not Strong Enough’ gave me a stronger perspective of the voice exclusive to boygenius. The harmonies because the three sing “At all times an angel, never a god’ allow each of their voices to drift above water. In ‘True Blue’ “However it feels so good to be known so well / I can’t hide from you want I hide from myself” was one in every of those snapping moments that forces you to pause and reflect in your relationship with each yourself and the larger body of labor. Boygenius doesn’t take the ‘relatability’ tag flippantly– you’ve to work for it.

On the entire album, ‘We’re In Love’ is the tender serenade teased within the introductory ‘Without You Without Them’. Dacus’ cinematic storytelling has all the time been something I really cherish, and her touch on this track is unimaginable to disregard. The lyrics are coated with an unwavering adhesive that each drowns and shields you from complete emotional consumption. ‘In the subsequent one / Will you discover me? I’ll be the boy with the pink carnation / Pinned to my lapel, who looks like hell, and asks for help / And when you do, I’ll comprehend it’s you.’ No words crucial– these are the lyrics that find themselves referenced years in the long run.

Josh Weiner: I hate to do one other cop-out, but this looks like the type of query where I’d need to actually take heed to each member’s catalog more thoroughly, develop some seasoned impressions of every one’s individual strengths and styles as exhibited on their past records, after which come back to say how those are reconjured on this recent one. On condition that I’m writing on a decent deadline, I won’t find a way to try this process justice before my answers listed here are due. But I do stay up for developing my very own answers to that query once the posh of time is more greatly bestowed upon me.

Oliver Crook: While I enjoy a lot of the songs on this album, what impresses me most about it’s the cohesion in tone and vibe throughout. It’s a really complete album: The songs merge seamlessly, the lyrics are personal but convey a unified message, and each song appears like a boygenius track, not a Dacus, Baker, or Bridgers solo offering. Conceiving of such a solid theme and executing it so seamlessly comes from musicians at the height of their powers.

Kevin Krein: The genuinely interesting thing about Boygenius as a band, each on this album and on their EP, is that there are the echoes of everyone’s solo output within the work they do together, however the collaborative spirit is something that does ultimately make it unique. Also, there may be the very palpable love and admiration that Bridgers, Baker, and Dacus all have for each other and you possibly can truthfully feel that in numerous these tunes—even once they are singing about something so god rattling heartbreaking, they’re having fun doing it together.

Kylie Gurewitz: I believe the arrangements and the instrumentation on the record are unique to boygenius as a gaggle; it seems like each song takes different elements of every artist’s sound and plays around with different combos.

There’s also this ability through the co-writing to find a way to inform stories from multiple perspectives, which you simply don’t get in anyone’s solo work. Songs like, “Cool About It” and “Not Strong Enough” capture the identical great thing about “Ketchum ID,” where one idea seems to encourage each artist to inform her own story that swirls into one continuous thread; that’s gotta be one in every of the best feats of this band.

After which there’s the apparent undeniable fact that these three can harmonize insanely well. The textures of all of their voices are totally unique, but they’re capable of create something incredible in those three part harmonies. I believe there’s also more screaming on the record than in any of their solo work, in order that’s a highlight.

Which songs stand out for you, and why?

Nic Nichols: “The Satanist” hands down scratches an itch that I believed was long-dormant. It’s nihilistic, an unapologetic title that begs to be screamed from the rooftops, featuring as well a dazed denoument of a really emptied spirit. ‘Will you be a nihilist with me? / If nothing matters, man, that’s a relief / Solomon had some extent when he wrote Ecclesiastes / If nothing may be known, then stupidity is holy / If the void becomes a bore / We’ll treat ourselves to some self-belief’. It’s an angsty nod to Baker’s troubled upbringing and spiritual trauma overall, but my love for it lies more within the undeniable fact that the song insists on its unabashed-ness. It’s empowering from a spot of understanding and safety, and this comfort seems to permit Baker to channel such large emotions without sacrificing depth or selfhood.

Oliver Crook: As I discussed above, I’m more impressed by the totality of the album than any particular songs. It seems like an album that you simply take heed to front to back, relatively than pick individual tracks to bask in. Having said that, “The Satanist” is phenomenal: It’s catchy, a tempo that the three thrive at, and allows all three to showcase their best skills and big personalities. It’s one in every of those moments on the record that every part lines up and for 4 minutes and 50 seconds every part feels right with the world.

I also love the deeply personal nature of “Emily, I’m Sorry” and that moment halfway through “Anti-Curse” where the emotional dam breaks and also you either are swept along or drown in the sentiments — your selection.

Kevin Krein: Of the three original singles released in January when the album was announced, “True Blue” was the true standout of those, just because of how swooning and melancholic it’s by way of its arranging, but additionally lyrically it’s one of the vital devastating to listen to. Also, “Not Strong Enough” is incredible—it soars to unimaginable heights within the chorus, and the sheer release of tension from the construct up of “At all times an angel, never a god,” is one of the vital impactful moments in a song this 12 months.

Beau Hayhoe: “True Blue” definitely carries its weight as one in every of the album’s lead singles, and I’m impressed with the kind of ‘90s alt-rock feel of “Satanist” – these songs each strike me as heavier than anything on the previous boygenius release, in a satisfying way. The actual fact which you can hear all three in harmony (lock-step!) is a testament to the record’s production, and maybe the need among the many group to let everyone have space to carve out their very own path.

Kylie Gurewitz: “Letter to an Old Poet” is such a freaking gut punch. It has the identical devastating feeling I haven’t gotten since “Killer.” There’s a callback to “Me and My Dog,” when the three of them sing “I wanna be,” after which there’s this upward shift within the chord, and Bridgers sings, “…comfortable, I’m ready.” It’s an incredible solution to musically embody an internal transformation. It felt like one in every of the massive themes of the primary EP was this self-hatred, or possibly a self-contempt, which is so viscerally apparent in that “Me and My Dog” lyric: “I wanna be emaciated.” To tease that line after which play with that expectation is pretty masterful songwriting; my jaw dropped once I listened for the primary time.

Josh Weiner: The general consensus here appears to be “True Blue,” so I’ll endorse that track as well. But I’ve enjoyed every part that I got to ascertain out on the advance listen, and I’ll give a selected shout-out to the colourful instrumentation on “Not Strong Enough” and the ethereal vocals on “$20.” We’ll see how my impressions mature as I turn out to be higher acquainted with the music.

Sophie Severs: I absolutely love the thought of healthy, boundless love inside “True Blue,” and spunky admission of inadequacy in “Not Strong Enough,” but I ultimately should concur with the aforementioned statements on “Letter to an Old Poet.” Healthy love is a foreign concept for much of this record, because the three put their heads together to work out what exactly that weighty ‘L-word’ entails.

As heartbreaking because the track is, it masterfully captures true heartbreak and the ragged road of healing that follows. The lyricism is stuffed with so many juxtapositions that capture how difficult it may be to like someone when one of the best they’ll provide you with is ambivalence. But even when receiving this lackluster style of ‘love’ the rose coloured lenses are cracking, as Bridgers takes the lead, singing, “Said I believe that you simply’re special / You told me once that I’m selfish,” continuing on to admit, “And I like you / I don’t know why / I just do.” Through the course of the track, the three musicians slowly unlearn the notion of getting to remain by someone’s side irrespective of what, as an alternative centering themselves and their needs within the narrative. The three harmonize: “You’re not special, you’re evil / You don’t get to inform me to calm down / You made me feel like an equal / But I’m higher than you and it’s best to know that by now,” slowly but surely realizing their self-worth after years of numbness. They’ve reached a turning point, and though they sing, “I can’t feel it yet / But I’m waiting,” the hard part is completed and the long run lies ahead. 


What lyrics from the record make you specifically feel seen and/or called you out?

Josh Weiner: I recently got here back from a February break trip to Quebec with icicles hanging from my face (my broadly grinning face, though– it’s friggin’ awesome up there within the wintertime!) Thus, I can all too readily relate to the lyrical passage on “Emily I’m Sorry” that goes, “Just take me back to Montreal, I’ll get an actual job, you’ll return to highschool, We will burn out within the freezing cold, And just wander away.” That jogs my memory numerous how things went up there for me and my parents, who I one way or the other convinced to hitch me on this frigid Canadian adventure. We made it through the freezing cold in Montreal and Mont Tremblant, but additionally managed to “burn out” afterwards– namely, once we went to warm ourselves on the firepit within the park in Saint-Jovite, QC after our post-skiing dinner! “Just take me back to Montreal” is just about my exact sentiment after such an awesome trip as that– I actually have my eyes on the Festival International de Jazz in June for my next opportunity to make it occur.

Kevin Krein: Truthfully, it’s numerous the lines from “True Blue” for me: “You already hurt my feelings thrice on the way in which only you may,” and “You’ve never done me incorrect, aside from that one time that we don’t speak about.” And in fact the road that lingers from the chorus, “I can’t hide from you want I hide from myself.” Moreover, numerous “Letter to An Old Poet,” too, is pretty difficult to listen to by way of unflattering reflections: “You’re not special, you’re evil. You don’t get to inform me to calm down.

Oliver Crook: Oh, where to start out with this query. I feel like I could list so many, so I’ll just point to guy — wrenching closer “Letter to an Old Poet” While many will point to the “I’m higher than you” lyric—and so they should, it’s amazing— but my favourite is the bridge:“I wanna be comfortable/I’m able to walk into my room without lookin’ for you.

Beau Hayhoe: “True Blue” again shines through here for me – I do know other listeners and writers have absolutely loved the lyric “It feels good to be known so well/I can’t hide from you want I hide from myself” – and I count myself amongst that group!

Interestingly enough, on “Revolution 0,” I used to be struck by the road “I’m afraid to get sick, I don’t know what that’s” – that’s perhaps an interesting meditation on the cautious steps taken in the course of the pandemic (and indeed, as we still adjust to going to shows and getting out on the planet again!).

All three songwriters have this fashion of hitting the nail on the tip – they’re singing from the center, and from their very own experiences, but in a way that cuts right to the core of the human experience, and that’s an exquisite thing.

Sophie Severs: There are so many lyrics to which I had an ‘ouch’ moment to.

“I’ll pretend being with you doesn’t feel like drowning” in “Cool About It” is de facto hard-hitting. So often we feel as if we must don this cheery persona and pretend that every part is tremendous — when in point of fact we could be going through the worst circumstances, or feeling heavy emotions and never know how one can get out of a situation. This track brings light to those emotions in a particularly empathic way.

“It feels good to be known so well / I can’t hide from you / Like I hide from myself” is probably the most heartwarming phrase ever coming from these three. I like this notion of unconditional love and the sensation of truly being seen by one other.

I’ve mentioned that love is that this foreign, confusing concept that the three consistently attempt to define throughout the project. The lyric, “If it isn’t love then what the fuck is it / I assume just let me pretend,” in “Revolution 0” perfectly sums this up. They lean into this farce, playing along until they’ll persuade themselves that this is really what love is.

“I would such as you less now that you recognize me so well.” Oof. That lyric in “Leonard Cohen” hurts. The best way that the phrase is claimed in such a flippant manner is accurate to many real life situations. It’s devastating whenever you give a lot of yourself to someone only to have them pull back, but you usually find yourself growing from it. Here’s to fresh starts and larger and higher things!

Nic Nichols: Can I re-use? Though I touched on its impact before, the lyrics, “At all times an angel, never a god” have really taken me under their wing and encapsulated this grand scope of meaning that boygenius continues to invoke of their work. To me, it’s a reference to womanhood and navigating their success in a male dominated industry while identifying as such, as even their respective bodies of labor are sometimes celebrated but rarely acknowledged because the true genius on display. Also, it describes this desire for control, whether or not that desire is rooted in good intention, and accepting it nonetheless as an element of 1’s self.

Moreover, the ‘Letter to an Old Poet’ outro ‘I can’t feel it yet / But I’m waiting’ is such a poignant confession of the journey of healing, how we want not be on the finish line to acknowledge the present moment for what it’s.

Kylie Gurewitz: There’s so many lyrical gems on the record. It’s actually insane that the road, “I need to be comfortable,” is now one in every of my favorite lines in a song, and in addition one in every of the saddest I’ve ever heard. “Letter to An Old Poet” is lyrically so direct and visceral; it opens with “I said I believe that you simply’re special,” and builds as much as a musical climax to say: “you’re not special, you’re evil.” I assume that feeling of wanting to take back some type of praise, or simply feeling so in a different way about anyone in hindsight really resonates with me.

I also should add that when you let the record loop, there’s something incredibly special concerning the last line, “I can’t feel it yet, but I’m waiting…” transitioning into “Without You Without Them.” It’s as if the thing price waiting for is the connection you’ll find with others.

boygenius (L-R: Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus & Julien Baker) © Harrison Whitford

Supergroups are all the time an interesting concept. What do you think that Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus respectively bring to the table with regards to the record?

Oliver Crook: What makes this trio so interesting is that where each excels is in areas that the others lack, making an album that plays to every’s strength: For instance, few artists may be as personal as Baker, but Bridgers’ ability of knowing exactly when to rock out makes each of their contributions higher. Each musician makes space for one another, making an album that falters in no facets. Boygenius does such a masterful job of letting each musician soar.

Kevin Krein: I believe each with the EP and the full-length, the thought of Boygenius plays to the strengths of everybody involved—there are the songs where it’s clearly a “Lucy song” or a “Phoebe song” or whatever depending on the tone and who has more of a lead role, but additionally they work very well together as collaborators and you certainly tell, and listen to, when it’s a song where that’s the case.

Beau Hayhoe: The beauty of this LP is which you can each hear distinctive statements and songs throughout that reflect where each author happens to be at this point of their profession. Phoebe has a stunning way with words and intimate moments set atop quiet, lilting guitar, while Julien’s own solo work now has a more rocked-out, deeper intensity than in years past (when she played live shows with only a piano and guitar). And Lucy, to me, represents a pleasant middle ground – perhaps more of a classic ‘80s/’90s alt-rock feel at times, but with a knack for cutting ballads, too.

Nevertheless, the great thing about the trio is that they’ll shift seamlessly through each of those modes – all three of them individually can write, sing, record and perform live from a special mindset (witness loud moments at Phoebe’s live show, or Julien’s quiet acoustic performances). And again, on the record, all three elements are at play here.

Kylie Gurewitz: I can only want to be a fly on the wall in one in every of these writing sessions, nevertheless it seems to me that while each of them brought just a few fully written songs to the record, they worked together within the technique of constructing them up. It looks like Baker brings an enormous amount of musical and instrumental development to a song, whereas Dacus has a present for refining the lyricism, and Bridgers has a knack for shaping the melodies. 

Sophie Severs: Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus all have different strong suits, but they neatly intertwine inside this body of labor. As each of them have extensive experiences pioneering their very own solo careers, the work of boygenius gave the impression to be utterly intuitive from the get-go. Phoebe brings this deeply introspective lyricism to the table, Baker adds onto it along with her knack for making a clean acoustic melody, and Dacus rounds all of it out along with her inclination for a hard-hitting rock anthem. Together, they’re a force to be reckoned with; a super-supergroup, when you will.

Nic Nichols: I’d say they bring about encouragement to a phenomenon that’s often characterised by talented artists fighting to stay on the forefront. It’s clear upon first listen which hand constructed the exoskeleton for every track, but they appear to drag one of the best from one another and elevate the unique concepts with their perspectives, relatively than dull them to appease a bigger assumption of what boygenius “should” be.

Josh Weiner: Just like the term “indie pop,” the notion of an “indie supergroup” appears to be something of an oxymoron to me. But I’m glad to see these guys come together in addition to they did on this album!

 Has hearing the record modified the way in which you’re feeling about or experience each artist’s solo albums?

Kevin Krein: At this point, I don’t imagine so — there may be an urgency though to The Record that does make one wish to run back and obsessively take heed to any of the solo outings by the members of the group and maybe appreciate them more now, on this moment, than you perhaps had before.

Beau Hayhoe: Actually – it’s clear that every one three boygenius members make the others higher, and that’s so cool to listen to it take shape. I’d like to, again, hear more about their process, exchanging ideas and songs and thoughts, since you possibly can hear the strengths of every member on the record.

Perhaps it’ll result in shifts in the way in which they write and record, or approach the method, but I’ll be listening for more “Motion Sickness”-esque uptempo rockers from Phoebe going forward, and maybe a return to Julien Baker’s quiet, nuanced approach, and I can’t wait to listen to how Lucy lives as much as last 12 months’s much-loved Pitchfork Festival Saturday set, where she delivered some searing moments on guitar.

Kylie Gurewitz: Because the first boygenius EP, I’ve definitely began listening more closely to the solo work for background vocals; it’s been cool to listen to Julien and Lucy sing harmonies on “Graceland Too” and to listen to Phoebe and Julien sing on “Going, Going, Gone.” I’ll keep listening for little things like that, or common threads between songs.

Sophie Severs: As I discussed earlier, all of the sentiments expressed on Baker, Bridgers and Dacus’ solo projects feel so individual and isolating. It’s your typical occurrence of solipsism, feeling completely alone within the universe and like you’re the just one who has ever felt this fashion. I’m definitely not listening to their solo projects and over-analyzing for very similar messages, but just knowing that the three aren’t so alone of their pain is such a healing thought to ponder once I tune into their respective projects.

Nic Nichols: I don’t think it’s necessarily modified my perspective of their respective solo albums but I do find myself listening a bit closer to the influences they each take away from one another in these projects. I hate to say ‘easter eggs’ because they feel less like marketable bait and more so thoughtful additions based on previous conversations and collaborations.

Josh: Truthfully, I still need to ascertain most of them out! But I did tune back into Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher recently and I’m pleased to report that it still goes as hard today because it did when it first got here out in June 2020– back once we all benefited from the reassurance that, regardless of all of the ways through which the world was crumbling on the time, at the very least good music was still being released!

Oliver Crook: A hundred percent. As contradictory as this will sound, hearing them together has allowed me to isolate exactly what I enjoyed about each musician solo, allowing me to dive into their very own work with a clearer idea of what makes them such generational talents.


:: REVIEW ::

What are your ultimate takeaways from the record, and what would you say is boygenius’ message to listeners straight away in 2023?

Sophie Severs: the record, to me, is an ode to healing and the ever elusive concept of self-worth. boygenius holds our hands tightly as they walk us through this narrative of loving and letting go, accompanying us through this emotional rollercoaster of a record. If there’s one overarching message I got from the project, it’s to guard your heart, and don’t accept less in any type of relationship.

Nic Nichols: What I took from it’s to not be afraid of your personal power, that there’s a solution to express yourself authentically and free yourself from those in search of to stifle your voice without doing the identical to a different. the record as a complete so eloquently parallels the experience of finding and nurturing those relationships that last a lifetime, whether it’s through shared intimacy, raw confessions, and pure individualism. It’s like that one night in together with your favorite folks that you may always remember even when you desired to.

Kevin Krein: I believe that a really obvious takeaway is that Boygenius really only works since the three people involved in it make space for each other’s growth outside of the project and support each other as they can. A “supergroup” could crash and burn pretty easily due to egos, or who’s “more successful” outside of the project, but that is an awesome example of literally just three friends having fun, and making music together, outside of what they’ve been able to doing on their very own. 

Beau Hayhoe: This LP is a defining statement that had a ton to live as much as, long before it was even released – would boygenius ever even tour again, much less record, after that 2018 tour and EP? And the way wouldn’t it sound once they did? I believe they’ve delivered an announcement that if and when they feel prefer it again, they’ll definitely deliver a groundbreaking LP that lets each member shine through individually. It’s as much as them, in fact, but they’ve given fans greater than they might have ever imagined, even now (with a summer tour on the way in which!). The prospect of future records is definitely an exciting one.

It’s a celebration of their very own strengths, it’s a testament to letting others around you shine in their very own way, and it’s a stunning, nuanced and emotionally cutting record. Would you expect anything less??

Kylie Gurewitz: Be gay, do crime. Just kidding. But I do think there’s a much more positive message to listeners on this record than on the previous EP, and even in a lot of the solo work. There’s an awesome deal of hope, optimism, and love on this record.

There’s also been a lightness within the promotion for the album that makes it really fun. Obviously boygenius knows who they’re and the way good they’re, but they’re not above playing a show at baggage claim, as an example.

Josh Weiner: The remainder of the fellows here appear to know what they’re talking about. So I’ll go together with their interpretations of the album’s and group’s predominant message.

Oliver Crook: That ladies deserve our rattling respect. I do know this could be very basic — and there’s more being said on this masterpiece — but ultimately I believe the trio want us to know that for each Ryan Adams, Father John Misty and whoever else man we herald because the “recent Dylan,” Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus are every bit as talented and ought to be within the conversation. These are three insanely talented musicians at the height of their prime, and so they showcase this special talent throughout.

boygenius © Shervin Lainez

One in all the predominant motivations for creating this supergroup was to fight against the thought of competition between women in music, while the name boygenius is a reference to the toxicity of the boys within the industry: Do you’re feeling these ideas come across throughout the album?

Sophie Severs: I view this project as a testament to camaraderie and friendship inside an industry that may so often be dog-eat-dog. The project itself doesn’t a lot comment on the dynamics that girls face, but creates this sense of community across the emotions that may include these experiences.

“It feels good to be known so well / I can’t hide from you / Like I hide from myself” from “True Blue” could easily be applied to a romantic relationship, but I decide to interpret it as a comment on unconditional friendship — even perhaps the friendship that the three musicians share between themselves. That lyric, out of anything, is what I decide to interpret as Baker, Bridgers and Dacus’ way of taking a stand. It’s cliche, nevertheless it truly does take a village to make change, and on this case, it’s a village with deep-rooted foundations in friendship.

Kevin Krein: I believe there’s an irony within the name that, after five years, has possibly been just a little lost while the members worked on their respective solo careers. If anything, the type of pushing back against misogyny within the music industry is something that doesn’t exactly resonate a lot within the music itself but within the individuals making it when you know anything about their personalities.

Kylie Gurewitz: I don’t think it was boygenius’ intention to handle these ideas through the music, however the undeniable fact that boygenius exists is unquestionably a disavowal of the concept that there may be an inherent competition between women in music.

Josh Weiner: Couldn’t say – possibly that idea is enforced by the group’s name greater than its lyrical content. But we’ll see what, if anything, I manage to discover upon further listens.

Nic Nichols: I agree with the opposite’s here in that I believe the group itself speaks more to those issues than the record, which to me exists a ways outside of this aforementioned toxic atmosphere. The support for one another feels more contained and self-fueling than targeted.

Beau Hayhoe: One in all the things I like probably the most about this trio (and I believe fans agree) is that every member has no problem taking a stand, planting a flag in the bottom and being forthright about beliefs, attitudes, the industry and the way they combat those issues. I believe if anything, the record backs up that ideology just as strongly as one might expect or hope for – boygenius isn’t afraid to get emotional or deep, they’re not afraid to select up the pace sonically, and so they’re not afraid to inform it how it’s all the while.

They show that the industry is healthier together when like-minded folks work together, not against one another (witness last 12 months’s Wild Hearts Tour, featuring Julien, Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen – a triumph!). One take heed to a few of these songs shows how they sing in harmony – supporting one another IRL, too. Again, would you expect anything less??

Oliver Crook: This concept doesn’t necessarily come across lyrically, but more within the existence of the band and the album itself. Just existing and creating such an exquisite album challenges all our views of girls in music and exposes the male toxicity of the industry. It’s a strong message.

— —

:: read more about boygenius here ::
:: purchase/stream the record here ::
Watch: “boygenius – the film”

— — — —

Connect with boygenius on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Discover recent music on Atwood Magazine
📸 © Shervin Lainez

the record

an album by boygenius

Recommended Products

Beauty Tips
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.