“the record” spins its way into the hearts of fans and critics alike

Katrina Sanville, Editor-in-Chief

March 31 established itself as something akin to a national holiday for fans of indie-rock supergroup boygenius with the release of their second album “the record.” After nearly four and a half years since their last release—a debut self-titled EP—fans were craving more content, and their prayers were answered in the form of a bright and sunny album cover and a teaser of three songs.
The trio is comprised of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, who—outside of their career with boygenius—have established themselves as singers, songwriters and performers. Bridgers is likely the most famous of the trio, with four Grammy nominations under her belt for her sophomore album “Punisher,” but Dacus and Baker have created their own die-hard fan bases and critical acclaim.
The trio serve like a well-oiled machine. Although all members of the band create uniquely interesting and devastating music, together they can create magic. Like a human body, there is no life without the brain, the heart and the body, and there is no boygenius without Baker, Bridgers and Dacus. As described by Angie Martoccio in a profile for Rolling Stone:
“Baker, the heart of the band, emotionally bulldozes you with her fierce vocals; Bridgers, the soul, eloquently brings lovesick, melancholic melodies; and Dacus, the brain, writes songs with a dramatic heft worthy of the Russian novels she tears through” (1).
“the record” opens with “Without You Without Them,” an acapella number featuring the harmonies and melodies boygenius became known for with their first EP. The song, though less than a minute and a half long, serves as a perfect summary of the album: stories and legacies, and how what came before can impact the present. The song has a grainy sound to it as well, as though it was recorded in the Voice Memos app on an iPhone before being plugged into the album, but this grainy quality gave the song an almost nostalgic feel.
The rest of the album kicks off with a bang, with the second song “$20,” opening with a punchy intro of electric guitar and drums. “$20” was one of three songs released when the album was announced Jan. 18, alongside “Emily, I’m Sorry” and “True Blue.” Each of the teaser songs featured one of the members on lead vocals, with “$20” spotlighting Baker, “Emily I’m Sorry” showcasing Bridgers, and “True Blue” featuring Dacus.
“$20,” much like a few other songs on the album, reference past songs in the boygenius discography. “$20” references the song “Souvenir” from the self-titled EP and features a beloved Phoebe Bridgers scream, like the one featured in her song “I Know the End.” The final track, “Letter To An Old Poet” references the fan-favorite songs “Moon Song” and “Me and My Dog” from Bridgers’ album “Punisher” and the trio’s self-titled EP, respectively. This web of references and nods to past works truly makes “the record” feel like the foundations of what some could call the “boygenius Musical Universe”; the shared platform for all three musicians to collaborate, create and expand on their existing portfolio.
Another recent addition to the “boygenius Musical Universe” came in the form of the short film that was released alongside the album. Kristin Stewart was brought in to direct the 14 minute film, which features three music videos within the existing short film—one for each of the songs released prior to the album—tied together with smaller vignettes. Each music video featured its lead singer as the predominant figure, with the other members making appearances.
Baker’s video for “$20” opened with a lighthearted and youthful tone—quite literally, since the video featured two young actors who portrayed younger versions of Bridgers and Dacus—as the three got into childlike mischief and mayhem. Following that came Bridgers’ video for “Emily, I’m Sorry,” which had a far more simplistic video, as Bridgers sang in front of a several-car pile up with monster trucks racing overhead. Finally, Dacus closed out the film with “True Blue,” a sepia-toned video that became washed in blue as the video progressed, until the three members were covered in blue paint. Each video had different levels of nostalgia and reflection to them, but put together created a beautiful work of visual media.
Although “the record” is categorized under the indie-rock genre, the 42-minute album has something for nearly everyone. Those in search of a slightly more upbeat sound for blasting throughout the summer without much consideration to the lyrics can find songs for their playlist in “$20,” “Satanist,” “Not Strong Enough” or “Anti-Curse,” while those looking to wallow in past relationships and mistakes, as well as reflect on the present may find “Revolution 0,” “We’re In Love” or “Letter To An Old Poet” to be more of interest.
“the record” has already established itself as being beloved by both critics and fans alike within its first few days of release, and will no doubt see itself go on to become a musical classic. “the record” is now streaming on all music platforms, and available to purchase in physical copies at most music stores. boygenius’ self-titled EP, as well as the members’ own discographies, are also available to stream.
1. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/boygenius-julien-baker-phoebe-bridgers-lucy-dacus-the-record-interview-1234660514/