The Genius of Boygenius

The Genius of Boygenius

In 2018, successful solo artists Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker rallied together to create an EP of six songs titled “boygenius.” Their team-up became colloquially known as a band called Boygenius, and though it was unexpected, the group plans on releasing another album called “the record on March 31. In the meantime, Bridgers, Dacus and Baker decided to drop a bombshell of three new songs.

“$20” kicks off the trilogy with an upbeat rock feel, led by Julien Baker. It’s reported that this song was written separately from the group, then developed to fit all the singers’ voices. It doesn’t feel separate though: the harmonies work seamlessly and feel reminiscent of the last EP. Each distinct voice adds to a chaotic energy, as if different thoughts or voices are fighting for attention. 

Similar to a number of Baker’s solo songs, the song features themes of rebellion and self-destruction. The song feels cohesive, but the emotion picks up at the end: Bridgers sings, “May I please have twenty dollars?” then, “Can you give me twenty dollars?” and screams, “I know you have twenty dollars!” It’s desperate and raw – break that guitar, Phoebe!

“Emily, I’m Sorry” is the song most similar to Bridgers’ solo music, opening with soft guitar and progressing into synth sounds. It focuses on a narrative of a slowly-deteriorating relationship which Bridgers is clinging to. She begs Emily to come back and forget the relationship’s past mistakes, needing Emily’s forgiveness in order to forgive herself. 

There are similarities between “Emily, I’m Sorry” and Bridgers’ solo songs “Punisher” and “Moon Song,” while some points feel like extensions of these previous songs. The line that Spotify promotes as the cover art for this song reads, “I’m twenty seven and I don’t know who I am/But I know what I want.” 

“True Blue” is, of course, led by Lucy Dacus. The term “true blue” represents commitment and loyalty. This song reflects on a successful relationship that still has its difficulties. Dacus sings, “I can’t hide from you like I hide from myself / I remember who I am when I’m with you / Your love is tough, your love is tried and true-blue.” This song’s theme contrasts those in the other two songs, reminding listeners of how different relationships can be at various points in time. The lyrical style in “True Blue” is comparable to that of other Dacus songs because it uses specific imagery to transport the listener. The catchy and comforting acoustic guitar and chorus stand out in this song.

Each song on this release is distinct from the others, matching the lead artist more than the group as a whole. At the same time, the songs would not have the same effect if they were solo. The group acknowledged this distinction, and a press release assured that the rest of the album will be more “conversational.” 

If I had to rank these three songs without having the context of the full album, I’d do “Emily, I’m Sorry,” “True Blue” then “$20.” Most people I’ve spoken to agree that the last EP includes more notable songs, like “Me & My Dog,” but again, we don’t have full context. Overall, it’s exciting to know that the members of Boygenius have been working together to create “the record rather than just being a “one EP wonder.”