When I heard that Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus were coming together to create a supergroup and release music my pupil’s dilated like never before (at least that’s what my partner said). I digress. The three female artists created the supergroup, Boygenius, with what felt like out of nowhere. If you don’t know of all or any of the members go out and listen to everything that was released. I’ll wait… Well now that you’re back and you’re emotional heartstrings have been shattered, rebuilt and you’re more of a complete human now, Boygenius encapsulates everything about the three artists perfectly. The emotional impact of every track, even most single lines of a song are so incredible that they stand just as tall as the complete track. To be perfectly honest, the only negative about this release is that there isn’t more of it. With the EP clocking in at six tracks and twenty minutes, you’re left needing a stronger fix of the band.
The Boygenius album flows excellently with not giving a focused lead singer. Each track highlights each of the artists either it is alternating verses, choruses or collectively creating haunting melodies that will hit you at your core. While separately they have all achieved success with their emotional and gut-punching music, not only bringing vulnerability to the forefront of the indie genre but allowing for an individual or a small band to command your attention more so than I have ever felt or seen. The overlapping themes of all three seemed like they were on a course to collide and either feature one another on records to collaborate all together. Bridgers and Baker take reign strumming or picking guitars or playing the piano when you know of them there is a standalone sound that separately they have perfected and when given the opportunity to introduce more vocals or layered sound, they run away with it, with no one even close to them.
When the opening lines of the album contain emotion like this, it’s hard to see where you will find fault, “I can’t hear you, you’re too far away, I can’t see you, the light is in my face, I can’t touch you, I wouldn’t if I could”. “Bite the Hand” serves as a great first track giving you harmonies that unmatched and an immediate emotional response you are used to by now from them. Introducing drums gives depth not only to the first track but through the album, allowing a genuine and strong heartbeat to the EP. “Me and My Dog” might have two of the most relatable verses I’ve heard in a long time, “We had a great day, Even though we forgot to eat, And you had a bad dream, Then we got more sleep, ‘Cause we were kissing” and “I wish I was on a spaceship, Just me and my dog and an impossible view“. Bridgers sings the first with such sincerity and honesty you can picture the moments right in front of you like she’s singing about you. “Stay Down” is a strong punch to the gut when Baker sings lines like “I wasn’t a fighter ’til somebody told me, I had better learn to lean into the punch..” giving you an immediate response good or bad. it’s a line that sticks with you for a long long time. It doesn’t help that quickly after Baker give us that she also gives you another hit to the gut with “I look at you and you look at a screen, I’m in the back seat of my body….”. The song closes with the trio singing “It takes so long for me to settle down, And when I finally do there’s no one else around, So I stay down”. If I had to choose a stand out track among the gold found on this record, “Stay Down” might be it. I haven’t even mentioned, “Salt in the Wound” powered by Dacus’ vocals, “Souvenir” or “Ketchum, ID” (which might be the second best track, but that’s not for me to decide), which are also all beautifully performed songs.
Given the album is only twenty-two minutes, it’s hard to find anything truly negative with the trio’s release. Boygenius feels like it’s been in the works for a long time. Now side project isn’t a phrase that I would use to describe the trio’s collaborative band. Giving life to each of them and as a trio is refreshing and something unique in this time of constant collaborations that feel forced and artists creating solo projects for them to experiment. The heart that’s put into this EP is not only exceptional but honest and raw. It hits every note you want, and some that you didn’t know existed. We can only hope with how beautiful these six tracks are, this isn’t a one and done for Boygenius.