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The Student News Site of Darien High School


The Student News Site of Darien High School


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boygenius: The Growing Phenomenon

The boys are back in town.
boygenius performing at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY. Photo Credit: Instagram (@xboygeniusx)

These boys are poetic geniuses.

The members of the band “boygenius,” Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus. Photo Credit: Brian Gallagher/WFUV Public Radio

Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker are the three members of the band boygenius. Each of the three singers has her own successful solo career, but every once in a while, they come together to release music/magic. The group’s first EP, simply titled “boygenius”, was released in 2018. Bridgers, Dacus, and Baker then went on a month-long tour for their EP and gathered many new and excited listeners (and brought in old fans, already familiar with them from their solo careers). After their short tour, boygenius was put on pause; COVID-19 and the task of releasing their own individual music got in the way, so fans were forced to wait longingly for the trio to reunite. In 2023, a miracle occurred.

In January 2023, the boys came back together and announced their album titled “the record” which was promptly released on March 31, 2023. This album consists of 12 beautifully written and produced songs, some incredibly emotional and some that make you want to get on top of a table and scream. Bridgers, Dacus, and Baker find ways to break their listener’s hearts and sew them back together with their unmatched lyricism and vocals.

The album cover for boygenius’s “the record.” Photo Credit: Instagram (@xboygeniusx)

After that quick introduction to Boygenius, I’m now going to run through some of my favorite and some of the most popular songs off of “the record.”

The album starts off with a track titled “Without You, Without Them,” an a cappella song that highlights the vocal talent of the boys and their exquisitely constructed harmonies. Track one is very short and starts off the album with an audibly pleasing and lyrically optimistic note. It discusses an appreciation for how those around you have shaped your character and talks about giving your partner all you can give in a relationship and wanting the same back from them.

Track two, “$20,” is one of the five most streamed songs on Spotify off “the record.” While the first track starts the album off on a sweet, light note in terms of the sound, “$20” drastically shifts into a rock, “upbeat” tone. Note, I use upbeat lightly as often the boys craft songs that sound upbeat but, in actuality, have soul-crushingly sad lyrics. “$20” ends iconically as Bridgers grows louder and louder in the background, saying, “May I please have $20,” “Can you give me $20,” and finally takes over the vocals as she screams out, “I know you have $20.” 

Phoebe Bridgers performing on stage at The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington. Photo Credit: David Lee/Wikimedia

Track three is one of my personal favorites—and another one of the five most streamed songs on Spotify off the album. “Emily I’m Sorry” is a Bridgers-centered ballad that features Baker and Dacus on backing vocals. Bridgers sings about a relationship: falling in love, changing yourself for the person you love, losing yourself in the relationship, and mourning as your relationship falls apart. Bridgers apologizes repeatedly to “Emily” and blames the end of their relationship on her lack of maturity and sense of self (“I’m 27, and I don’t know who I am”). And Bridgers ends by expressing that she knows what she wants: love (or Emily back?).

Track four is another one of boygenius’s most streamed songs on Spotify: “True Blue.” Dacus takes over in this love song. The phrase “true blue” means extremely committed. Dacus sings about a loyal partner whose love helps her “remember who [she is].” She sings that “it feels good to be known so well” by her partner. It’s a song that you can shoulder bump to or maybe even sway, and that will leave you smiling. Love that makes us better people is the best kind.

Track five, “Cool About It,” is the second most listened-to boygenius song on Spotify (and another one of my favorites). The final verse of this song is perhaps the saddest ever written. I don’t even want to try to explain this song—it’s best understood when it comes from their mouths. Just give it a listen (but only in a place where you feel comfortable sobbing your eyes out).

Baker, Dacus, and Bridgers in a shoot for WSJ. Magazine. Photo Credit: Instagram (@chantalaanderson)

“Not Strong Enough” is the sixth track on “the record” and what I believe to be the most incredible piece of music ever released (which is reflected in the fact that it’s also the most listened-to boygenius song on Spotify). When I mentioned that some of these songs might make you want to stand on top of a table and scream, this is the main one I was referring to. We return back to that more rock feeling that “$20” had with this track. The most memorable part of the song is the bridge, where the phrase “always an angel, never a God” is repeated over and over again. This lyric became instantly popular. The amount of tattoos with this lyric that I’ve seen online is truly astounding. The lyric describes the general feeling of never being good enough. Always the second in command, never the big guns. The whole song discusses trying to find your identity, trying to understand why you function the way you do, and desperately wanting to be good enough, “strong enough.”

Skipping to the final track on “the record,” “Letter to an Old Poet” immediately caught the attention of boygenius fans as it brought back a theme and melody from one of the songs off of their EP: “Me & My Dog.” But this time, with changed lyrics: “I wanna be emaciated” now turns into “I wanna be happy.” The fans fawned over this switch-up, overjoyed by the optimistic feeling in the new lyrics. Growth. A new, happier beginning. A beautiful way to leave off on an album filled with so many difficult feelings.

Bridgers, Baker, and Dacus having fun on stage while performing at PNE Amphitheatre in Vancouver, BC. Photo Credit: Instagram (@xboygeniusx)

boygenius’s “the record” is a musical masterpiece, but it’s not the only masterpiece they’ve put out into the world. If you’re interested in getting into this revolutionary band, I’d recommend giving all of their music a listen and even exploring their solo music. You won’t regret it.

And in even more exciting news: boygenius just released a new EP titled “the rest” on October 13th.  This EP just offers even more incredible music to listen to.

And the amazing boygenius news just keeps coming. On November 10th, boygenius was nominated for six Grammy Awards for “the record.” These nominations are their first as a band.

And, on November 11th, the boys performed for their first time as a band on Saturday Night Live. The episode was hosted by Timothée Chalamet, and Bridgers, Dacus, and Baker were even featured in one of the sketches.

As someone who recently went to see them in concert, I can attest to the fact that they are amazing performers and artists. The bond they share with one another is so special and unique. To be able to watch and to hear that bond through their music is a blessing.

I love boygenius. You should, too.

boygenius performing “Not Strong Enough” on SNL

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About the Contributor
Mallory Sloan
Mallory Sloan, Writer
Mallory is a senior who started writing for Neirad in the fall of 2023. She loves writing about literature, film, and the arts at DHS—specifically the theater arts. Along with being a writer, Mallory is the Vice President of Programming for Theatre 308. In her free time, she likes to read, listen to music, and watch movies. Her all-time favorite movie is La La Land.

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