Album Review: boygenius - Self-titled

Scarlett reviews...

Scarlett Rowland
12th November 2018
credit: wikipedia


For this EP, indie rock artists Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus create boygenius, having decided to write these tracks together during their joint tour. Separately each of these women are a force to be reckoned with, and together they have created an album that would move the most steadfast of souls. Each track sings of a different sorrow the women have faced, each track varies in its frontwoman, and each track makes me want to cry at least a little bit.

The EP starts with ‘Bite The Hand’. This song speaks to everyone who has had that relationship which fell apart from someone falling out of love. When this song begins, it is not dissimilar to the rest of Lucy Dacus’ discography, but as soon as the chorus hit and both Bridgers’ and Baker’s vocals come in supporting the lyric of ‘I can’t love you like you want me to’.

Now if you are looking for well-crafted lyrics filled with strange metaphors and weird wordplay - this is not the music for you. Their lyrics are painfully simple and honest, speaking to many of my own experiences, from the previously mentioned ‘I can’t love you like you want me to’, to the heartbreaking ‘I look at you and you look at a screen’ from ‘Stay Down’ - a song seemingly about dealing with a partner whose attentions are few and far between.

‘Salt In The Wound’ is probably my least favourite of the album, although that really means nothing since it’s just the track I haven’t fallen in love with as much as the rest. It starts off slightly weak with some grungy chords and lacklustre lyrics, but by the halfway mark Baker’s vocals lift up the song, elevating it to the rest of the EP.

And as suddenly as the EP was released, it’s over - lasting only 21 minutes. Although the last track, ‘Ketchum', ID’s quite possibly my highlight of the EP. This song is distinct from the others, seemingly recorded in a more relaxed atmosphere with more echoing, simple and yet not bare with just one acoustic guitar and the three voices. Its inspiration pulls from Dacus’ folkier sound, with the chorus intertwining vocals you can feel the desire that these women feel to be close to other people whilst living their lives on the road, performing gigs. In an interview with the Boston Globe, Dacus commented that whilst recording this song, “every verse that someone would sing, we just had our hearts broken” - and there is no doubt that any listener would be able to hear that.

It is not an inherently feminist album; there are no shouts of “Down with the patriarchy” or “Fuck all men”, but by purely existing as a supergroup creating such a mournful but full sound, I cannot help but feel listened to and looked after by these women.

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