Boygenius album is ineffably divine

The Record stands out as emotional and varied

The Record, Boygeniuss upcoming album, releases on Friday, March 31.

Courtesy of Interscope Records

The Record, Boygenius’s upcoming album, releases on Friday, March 31.

In anticipation of their album, The Record, dropping this Friday, March 31, supergroup Boygenius, composed of singer songwriters Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, has sent their album to independent record stores around the world where patrons were able to hear the album before it was officially released.

I was lucky enough to attend one of these listening parties at Mobius Records in Fairfax, Virginia. Sitting on a patio surrounded by strangers all bonded by our love for this band, and our first listen to their long awaited album, the music started to play. Over the next 12 tracks, we were taken on an artfully crafted journey.

A satanist. An anarchist. A nihilist. Three distinctive and established artists come together to make an album called The Record. Boygenius’ newest album is unequivocally outstanding. The choke hold it will have on listeners from the moment the first note plays to long after the album ends is unrelenting. Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus masterfully lead listeners through a journey where they are in complete control, and they know it.

There are distinctive fingerprints from each individual throughout the album. Baker’s hypnotic instrumentals and unapologetic rocking and rolling can be seen in “$20” and “Satanist.” These are songs to be screamed, songs to feel deep in your bones. They are exciting and riveting.

Fans of Phoebe Bridgers will not be disappointed as songs like “Emily I’m Sorry” and “Revolution 0” hauntingly paint pictures that force you to fester in dread. They will chill you deep and leave you feeling so much and yet nothing at all in the addictive way that only Bridgers can. With these tracks, Bridgers performs some of the best storytelling and most poignant lyrics from the album.

“True Blue” and “Leonard Cohen” are deeply soulful and bitingly smart as the songs that Dacus heads. The nostalgic tune and story of both songs feel even more reminiscent as Dacus’ stunning voice echoes them through your soul. The album as a whole has strong themes of friendship, but Dacus, in particular, dives deep into this facet with these songs with these ballads.

The Record is most remarkable, however, not in how each member stands out, but in how they all unite to make a completely unique identity that is solely “Boygenius.” Their use of harmonies, complex storytelling, and experimental sounds are truly a marvel.

“Cool About It” showcases careful vocals over a solitary banjo and is completely emotionally overpowering. The vocal performances make the song feel so intimate and personal and the unique use of the banjo is refreshing and engaging. This song will make you feel as though the only thing in the world is this song—one voice, one instrument, that’s it. The feelings of oblivion just inflicted are quickly followed and juxtaposed by “Not Strong Enough” which is most definitely a highlight of the album.

“Not Strong Enough” not only features some of the best vocal performances on the album, but also assembles them in a way that leaves a maximum impact: the listener is greeted by Bridgers’ gentleness, followed by Baker’s verse that’s full of soul, and then the song changes in tone with Dacus’ powerfully elevating voice. The lyrics in this song are nuanced and relatable, the tune is catchy, and the harmonies are on a whole other playing field.

A big highlight of the record that truly makes it stands out is the contrast between lyrical meaning and tone of the songs. The vocals are absolutely ethereal and the backings are so thoughtful that the listener feels spectral, but the lyrics are oftentimes hilariously crass. Bridgers beautifully sings, “I just want to know, who broke your nose. Figure out where they live, so I can kick their teeth in.” No one deters from using vulgarity as liberally as they want or is obsessed with trying to sound profound, which gives the listener gems like “writing the words to the worst love song you’ve ever heard” and “I am not an old man having an existential crisis in a Buddhist monastery writing horny poetry.” That being said, there are no shortage of lyrics from this album that will echo through your brain with their power and beauty.

The album concludes with Dacus, Baker, and Bridgers each heading “We’re in Love,” “Anti-Curse” and “Letter to an Old Poet” respectively. For fans who know the past work of Boygenius, there is a surprise at the end of “Letter to an Old Poet” that will leave you speechless. These final three songs do not feel separate, though. They are all woven together through similar musical motifs, common themes, and gradual transitions; most poignantly, they all hit you where it hurts.
Completely non hyperbolically, these three songs will crush you. They put a lump in your throat, make your stomach drop, and just completely take the wind out of you. The Record leaves you there—absolutely broken.

It feels like an understatement to call this album a 5/5, because other albums before it have been given that same ranking, but The Record deserves a rating that is as outstanding and extraordinary as it is. Boygenius will have you crying in public and then laughing through your tears. That’s the kind of record it is. It fills you with more emotion than you know how to handle, so much emotion you don’t dare move. It is the kind of record that you don’t think can have an end, but it does. When the record finally ends, it has disabled you, leaving you completely adrift, unable to do anything but sit with what you’ve heard. This sounds dramatic, so you’ll have to listen to fully understand. Released on March 31, The Record is truly that genius.