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I Think I’ve Been Having Revelations: My Review On ‘the rest’ by boygenius

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

boygenius. Where do I even start? The trio, known by their fans as “The Boys,” includes Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, and Phoebe Bridgers. Their first extended playlist (EP), self-titled boygenius, was released in October of 2018. With only six tracks, including some of their biggest hits like “Me & My Dog” and “Salt in the Wound,” the EP is nothing short of art. In March of 2023, their debut album the record dropped and changed lives. With 12 tracks and zero skips, “Not Strong Enough” went #1 on Billboard’s alternative chart. This supergroup is talented and it is thoroughly showcased in their latest EP, the rest, which is made up of four songs cut from the record

the rest was first announced on Sept. 25, 2023, in Boston, MA during their first show of the second leg of their American tour. Personally, I was extremely excited to hear new music from the group! One song was sung per night leading up to their Madison Square Garden (MSG) performance. However, I was feeling inspired by a hometown friend I had spoken on the phone with that day. She had avoided spoilers for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, having gone into it blind, it made the show more exciting. So, that’s what I did. I swiped past every tweet, TikTok video, and Instagram post I saw that was more than the tracklist. I couldn’t wait to hear these songs when the clock struck midnight on Oct. 13. 

On Oct. 2, 2023, their show at MSG coined the term “Munagenius,” a sold-out show of Doc Marten-wearing folks of all ages who traveled far and wide to see The Boys, and the opening act MUNA. I was extremely fortunate to have received a text from my dear friend, Mia, who had an extra ticket the morning of the show. With my leather pants, not-so-waterproof mascara, and a dream, I sat in the venue ready for what I knew would be an unforgettable night. And boy was I right. From MUNA’s electrifyingly fun opening set to emotional speeches from The Boys, the show felt like a part of my wildest dreams. After exiting for the encore, my friend, Mia, had commented, “They’re taking longer than usual,” which I had thought nothing of until they showed up on a B-stage in the back of the pit. Watching everyone on the floor turn around and run was quite entertaining from the upper bowl. They were like moths to a flame! But what happened next is what truly made the night even more special than it was.

All four songs off of the rest were sung to a hushed, unknowing crowd of 20,000 people. Their ability to captivate a crowd to either scream lyrics like She called me a f*cking liar or to listen in complete silence to hear Baker claim, “I couldn’t sing. It was, like, psychological… I was so quiet. These guys have given me my voice back.” is magical. There is no other way I could dream of hearing these songs for the first time, echoing through the arena with nothing but the beauty that is boygenius ringing in my ears. 

Just under two weeks later, the rest is now available on streaming. Here are my thoughts:

“Black Hole”

It was the first of the four songs to be announced. From the title alone, my initial thoughts were that it alluded to the opening lyric of “Not Strong Enough,” “Black hole opened in the kitchen.” The theme stems from a tweet viewed by Julien that linked to NASA’s research on Black holes, “Black Hole Creating Stars.” Lucy claimed that she was going to be one of many on the internet to use it in poetry. This song feels like the perfect starting point for the EP, transitioning into the next song fluidly. It sets the mood for the songs that follow, providing the listener with a taste of what’s to come. Aspects of connection, yearning, and quite literally space find themselves woven into the words on many lyrics approaching, starting with “Black Hole.”

“Afraid of Heights”

I remember thinking “I can’t wait to listen to this over and over again.” This track is Mia’s favorite off of the EP. She says, “To me, it’s about not having experienced things as crazy as other people, being scared to admit it, and thinking you’re not good enough because of it. My favorite line is ‘You called me a crybaby / But you’re the one who got teary.’” Dacus’ vocals, eloquent as always, and accompanied by the idea that what you value should be worthy of your life rather than something you would die for, make this the impassioned song that it is. Her lyrics, often transcribed from her own diary, feel honest and personal. “I wanna live a vibrant life / But I wanna die a boring death” connects the song’s central theme of conflicted feelings to her own life. In my opinion, “Afraid of Heights” is definitely a contender for one of their best songs, and makes me wonder how it didn’t make the album in the first place.


“Voyager” has Phoebe Bridgers written all over it. From the first time I heard it, I knew it was going to be my favorite of the group. It’s so fascinating how an artist can perfect their craft with just their voice and a guitar. The Boys find ways of not sacrificing their words in order to make us feel exactly how they feel. This Bridgers-centric song dealt with themes of loss and disorientation in a broken relationship, holds back nothing to make us feel her emotions through likely references not only to other boygenius songs but solo works by Bridgers and Baker, as well. “And sometimes, you let me read your mind “  borrows a page from the song “Cool About It,” and the lyric“Blacktop meltin’ on our shoes” mirrors “Blacktop” off of Baker’s solo record Sprained Ankle. The reference that hit me the hardest in this third track resides in the closing lines, “Walkin’ alone in the city / Makes me feel like a man on the moon / Every small step I took was so easy / But I never imagined a dot quite as pale or as blue / You took it from me, but I would’ve given it to you.” The beauty of this song lies within The Boys’ references to space, heard in “Me & My Dog” (“I wish I was on a spaceship / Just me, and my dog, and an impossible view”), as well as Bridgers’ “Moon Song”: “And if I could give you the moon / I would give you the moon.” The storytelling capabilities they possess in their songwriting is what makes The Boys some of the best at what they’re doing with their careers right now. 


Last, but certainly not least, “Powers.” One of my favorite things about The Boys’ sound is how distinguishable their songs can be while having unanimous contributions. “Powers” is clearly a “Baker song” to any fan well-versed enough to hear the differences. The final track ponders on Baker’s own origin story through destructive comic book references. She asks if these sci-fi-esque ideas of falling into nuclear reactors or being a failed experiment are the reason she lives her life without regrets. The song’s melody reflects “Anti-Curse” while the lyrics embody “Not Strong Enough” (“I don’t know why I am the way I am”). She reflects on the final lyrics, “The force of our impact, the fission / The hum of our contact, the collision,” in an interview with the Grammys. She states that José Estaban Muñoz, author of Cruising Utopia, “…talks about the idea of the lived experience being its own work of art, and then… you look back and realize that you’ve spent your life with people that have become like your family and they’ve been the driving force in what motivates you.” At the center of every boygenius song, it’s evident that there is nothing but genuine love for each other in its purest form. 

It’s safe to say that there will never be enough positive things to say about boygenius. From seeing them at the Re: Set concert series this summer to this year’s Halloween costume, I can’t help myself from indulging in every song, interview, and show I can. The Boys have embraced their fans with open arms, and I’ll never let them go.

Ella Rodriguez is a member of Her Campus at Pace University in New York City. She enjoys writing about different elements of the world of entertainment, specifically music and movies. She looks forward to working and collaborating with the members of Her Campus at Pace! Ella is a Freshman this year and studying Communications and Media Studies. She is originally from Worcester, Massachusetts. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hanging out with friends, and watching movies. Her favorites include La La Land, Little Women (2019), Bohemian Rhapsody, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. If you find her with her on campus, she's probably on her way to Bagel Market with her Her Campus besties, Cassidy and Sierra. Ella is also an avid enjoyer of tap dance after competing in dance competitions for 12 years. She is excited to live in and explore the city for the next few years and grow as a writer!