You may ask yourself, “is it Contemporary Folk, Alt, Punk, Pop, literary prose or a movie?”, and the answer is that the full-length debut from boygenius, The Record, is all of the above. In fact, driving the point home, the band recently released a short film of three of the songs on the album (“$20,” “Emily I’m Sorry,” “True Blue”), each song representing a different member of the band, somehow representing both the lyrical content and displaying the camaraderie and collaborative energy and psychic connection amongst the three “boygeniuses,” Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus (all of whom appeared individually in different episodes of the JBE Virtual SummitFests made necessary by the pandemic lockdowns).
Born out of a long-time desire to collaborate that resulted in a 2018 co-headlining tour, Baker, Bridgers and Dacus set out to record a single so they’d have something to perform together during the tour. Once they gathered to make that song, they found that they were all bursting with ideas for the project and decided to form a band, recording the boygenius EP, which was enthusiastically received by both fans and the music press and mounting the first boygenius tour. As touring started to come back after the pandemic, the three cohorts showing up throughout the fall of 2021 to perform at each other’s solo shows, before setting out to record The Record in 2022.
Following the philosophy that led to the band’s name (you can check the internet for that story), Baker, Bridgers and Dacus set out to make The Record as collaborative as possible, avoiding the competition that sometimes causes angst and conflict in the studio. The collaborative nature is evident as the trio delivers this diverse set of 12 songs in a way that suggests the entire project is an inside joke that only they share, but are willing to hint at to the listener. Starting out with the acapella “Without You Without Them,” propelled by the stunning harmonies these three sisters-from-different-mothers create, the album then explodes with the guitar driven “$20,” before winding through 10 more tracks, all equally divergent and complementary to each other as the first two are. With vocals that range from sweet to powerful to screaming, the lyrics are at once moody and pensive, as well as tender and ruthless, and filled with wry humor, exposing many of the ironies of life.
Living up to the tag “supergroup,” boygenius recently kicked off its 2023 tour schedule with an appearance at Coachella and will spend the summer on a headlining tour that will hit more festivals and includes the band’s first appearance at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. With KBCO, WXPN, WTTS, KXT, KRVB, WMMM and KEXP just a sampling of the more than 70% of the panel on The Record, boygenius is the rare act that soars in a format as diverse as the band.