Boygenius is Back

The holy trinity of the music industry returns with a full-length debut


On March 31, boygenius released their first studio album, “the record.” A creative collaboration intertwining the solo careers of founding members Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, boygenius was born out of earnest human connection—the three of them bonding over favorite authors and poets via email back in 2016, and now sharing matching tooth tattoos on their wrists. “The record” follows a self-titled 2018 EP—the cover of which nods to the 1969 “Crosby, Stills & Nash” album—and a collection of four lead singles released at the beginning of the month. Three to represent an individual member of the band and the fourth a culmination of the trio.

The kind of album made for a splintered porch, a full moon and an acoustic guitar missing a string, “the record” takes on the same gritty, intentional intimacy as every boygenius release that came before. It’s morning light pouring through a kitchen window and catching too much dust in the air. It’s heartbreak with someone there to hold your hand. It’s this kind of infallible bond that triumphs every inescapable hurt of living—the exact kind of bond that Bridgers, Dacus and Baker have found as boygenius. 

The first track on “the record” carries straight from the last off of their 2018 EP, two meandering lullabies tying art to art. Because, really, the boygenius discography functions as a sort of collective diary for them and them alone. It’s a space to fill lyrics with inside jokes, references to past releases and pieces of each of them. “Letter to an Old Poet,” the final track on the album, calls to “Me & My Dog”—a previous EP release—with a simple flipping of words. From “I wanna be emaciated / I wanna hear one song without thinking of you” to “I wanna be happy / I’m ready to walk into my room without lookin’ for you,” boygenius chronicles a sense of healing and a sense of growth. 

Boygenius tends to poke fun at revered male artists in the industry, naming themselves in a nod to the concept and replicating famed supergroup photoshoots like their suit-doned, Nirvana-influenced Rolling Stones cover, and instead embrace an intimate femininity sans ribbons and roses. They denounce Leonard Cohen to a horny poet on a track named for him not because he ever did anything implicitly wrong, but just because they can. 

The band is built at its core on this ability to yearn and to hurt and to make that beautiful, something mastered by Bridgers, Dacus and Baker as individual artists, but “the record” strings the hurting with some sense of hope. With the sense that even as all else fails, they’ve got each other. On the cover of “the record,” the three women’s tooth-tattooed hands are featured reaching up for something greater, and reaching up together.

Following “the record,” boygenius released a short film as a culminated, 15-minute music video. Directed by Kristen Stewart, “the film” provides a limelight for the three more individualized lead singles off of the album. Home video camera quality captures girlhood and arson on Baker’s “$20.” Bridgers stands in her socks and boxers while monster trucks fly off of makeshift jumps behind her—until she douses those in gasoline, too—on “Emily I’m Sorry.” And on Dacus’ “True Blue,” she’s joined by Bridgers and Baker in painting a palid room effectively blue.

On July 30, boygenius’ summer tour is coming to Bend for a show at the Hayden Homes Amphitheatre. The band will be performing with openers Carly Rae Jepson and the illuminati hotties.