Last semester when I mentioned briefly in an article that I was a fan of boygenius, I was not prepared for what was going to happen in the coming months. The trio, consisting of Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, and Phoebe Bridgers, released their debut album “the record” on March 31 – their first release since their eponymous 2018 EP. Needless to say, this was my personal superbowl. I already had very high expectations for this album as I am an avid fan of all three members as individual artists, and I am elated to report that “the record” is one of the best albums in recent memory.
The trio manages to balance individuality and the group by taking turns helming songs, but there are traces of each writer in every track. “Anti-Curse” exhibits Baker’s skill in building a cathartic climax in a song while the ambient production of “Revolution 0” hearkens back to Bridgers’s breakthrough album “Punisher.” Every song is packed with lyrics that are not just heartbreakingly beautiful but also reference previous songs by each artist. In the Dacus-led track “We’re In Love,” she sings, “Sing the song you wrote about me, nеver once checking the words.” This is reminiscent of her 2017 song “Night Shift,” “In five years I hope the songs feel like covers / Dedicated to new lovers.” The album even closes with a callback to their EP’s song “Me & My Dog,” which is guaranteed to leave loyal listeners in shambles.
The track that best represents boygenius as a band is “Not Strong Enough,” nestled in the middle of the album. The song is broken into three pieces, with each member leading a section. Their voices, all falling into different registers — alto Dacus, mezzo Bridgers, and soprano Baker — weave effortless harmonies, and it never feels like a member is being sidelined. These three-part harmonies reflect what boygenius is as a band: three friends supporting each other in equal measure. Through heartbreak, success, and the societal pitfalls of being a queer woman, the members of boygenius allow each other to be vulnerable in a way that signifies they’re much more than a band — they’re a family. I am admittedly an extremely harsh critic when it comes to artists I know and love, but there is no denying that this is a perfect album.
5/5 Big Oles