Still via Interscope Records
While we often see bands and musical groups split up to allow for the rise of one member, it’s not as common to see the opposite, where separate, successful, independent artists come together to form a group. However, when this rare occurrence takes place, it can create something amazing. Such is the case with the indie rock group boygenius, stylized in all lowercase.
Composed of some of the most famous names in the indie/queer music scene, Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus started boygenius in 2018. The three artists came together as friends and decided to make music together before they all set off on tour.
Their EP “boygenius” was released on Oct. 26, 2018 and included six songs. Almost five years later, on March 31, 2023, they released their debut full-length album, “the record” (streaming on Spotify and Apple Music), comprised of 12 tracks. Along with the album, they released their first-ever short film, which was directed by Kristen Stewart and titled “the film.”
I expected to see a story play out similar to Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well” but instead found it “the film” to be a collection of music videos for the first four tracks off “the record.”
The film starts with a three-way split screen as we hear rain and fire crackling in the background. As the video progresses, we hear the first song of the album, “Without You Without Them” and then the view zooms into the first of the three panels where Baker lies, and the first music video begins.
We start out with the song “$20.” The song revolves around the idea of going back to a memory. We see Baker switch between her childhood and adulthood as she spends time playing with two other friends, who we later find out represent Bridgers and Dacus.
The second video zooms in on Bridgers with the song “Emily I’m Sorry,” featuring mostly her singing in front of a monster truck race in the background. The other two join her, in the end, to light a car on fire.
The third and final video shows Dacus as the main character singing “True Blue.” We watch her start in a plain white room which progressively gets messily painted blue. Bridgers and Baker soon come into view and each member is shown kissing one another. The video then ends as the three panels show one shot of the three artists holding each other in bed and smiling.
Overall, I found “the film” very well composed. It referenced later videos and songs within the piece. For instance, in “$20” we see Dacus in a shirt splattered with blue paint and a younger Bridgers pouring gasoline, both nods to their subsequent videos. I also really enjoyed the fact that we see motifs of them lighting fires, likely referencing the lyric “In another life, we were arsonists” from “$20.”
Furthermore, the details of the set-up for the film are well-structured. The order of the songs in the video follows the direct order of the first songs presented in the album and the main character of each video is also the lead vocalist of each respective song.
As for the album as a whole, it’s leading the charts for a reason. With a mix of slow indie and indie rock, it’s wide range of songs attract both old and new fans. The album also makes use of the talent of all three artists. Between the 12 songs, each woman is the lead vocalist of four songs, and the songs are distributed in a pattern that is usually Dacus, Baker, then Bridgers.
The acapella “Without You Without Them” creates a warm introduction to the album. Then the loud and cathartic “$20” makes you want to scream along, and after, we are back to slow, gentleness with “Emily I’m Sorry.” The rest of the album generally follows this pattern.
While most of the songs are quite mellow, I find the more musically upbeat songs made the biggest impact on me. I personally found the songs with Baker as the lead vocalist were the most memorable to me, which surprised me given that I hadn’t listened to Baker much before thie album. The top songs for me off the album are “$20,” “Not Strong Enough,” and “Satanist” (which would be a perfect addition to OutWrite’s Satanic Panic Playlist). However, I do very much still appreciate the calmer songs such as the introductory “Without You Without Them” and “Cool About It.”
“The record” is something that can be enjoyed by a variety of audiences. If you enjoy any of the three artists individually, then you should certainly check out the album. However, even if all three are unknown to you, these songs are still worth a listen.
Many of the slower songs have a sing/talk nature almost as if the singer is reading aloud a diary of theirs, so if you enjoy artists such as Soccer Mommy, Mitski, Faye Webster, or Lizzy McAlpine, you would probably enjoy some songs off “the record.” If you are a fan of indie rock music as a whole or just like songs that prominently feature guitar and drums, you would probably be able to appreciate some of the more lively songs of the album mentioned earlier.
Boygenius is practically the “Avengers: Infinity War” of the queer indie music scene. It’s not often that fans have their favorite artists come together to make a group. Given the fact that boygenius is a band of increasingly popular queer women artists, it creates spaces for queer women to bond and come together.
Each artist stands out individually while meshing amazingly together. Boygenius is a music group with a lot of star power, and for that alone they’re worth checking out!
Author: Maya Parra (She/Her)
Copy Editors: JQ Shearin (She/Her), Bella (She/They)