When I clicked on Phoebe Bridgers’ Instagram story two weeks ago and saw that a new boygenius EP would be released, you could say I was astonished, flabbergasted and undeniably overcome with excitement. It felt like only yesterday that the trio of Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers dropped their critically acclaimed album, “the record.” In reality, this album was only available for ears to hear on Mar. 31, 2023. Still, many fans of “the boys” were shocked to learn more music would be coming so soon. On the night of Oct. 12, I put my AirPods in, got into bed and stared up at the ceiling fan, or rather, pretended to look up at the ceiling fan. I then pressed play on the first song of “the rest.”
The opener “Black Hole” graced my ears with Baker’s unique and distinctive voice, followed by a heavenly harmonization between Dacus and Bridgers. Frequent listeners and newcomers of boygenius can recognize the undeniable talent in how their music is produced. Each song is packaged with emotive lyrics and sealed with beautiful instrumentals. My favorite lyric from this track is, “Out here, it gets so dark / You can see the stars, the ones / The headlines said this morning / Were bein’ spat out by what we thought / Was just destroyin’ everything for good.”
There is a seamless transition between “Black Hole” and “Afraid of Heights,” which begins with Dacus’ sweet tone singing a simple tune. “Afraid of Heights” resonates the most with me because of its powerful and relatable songwriting that confronts mental health and relationships, as well as has a pleasing chorus. As a former choir kid, I always pay special attention to the hidden instrumentation and how it supports the singer. The harmonization with the other members alongside the plain yet delightful strumming in “Afraid of Heights” satisfied me and my ears in every way.
What I love most about boygenius is how they musically tell a story or a feeling. I always enjoy music that gives me the ability to truly feel, and I can put myself in their situation. This exact experience happened when I listened to the third track, “Voyager.” In this track, there are descriptive and alluring phrases that refer to some of the trio’s solo work. For example, consider the lyrics, “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.” Fans of Bridgers’ will make the natural comparison to “Moon Song” on her album “Punisher,” when she states that she would give the person she loves the moon if she could. This theme and imagery has become a fan favorite, and through this lyrical parallel, Bridger’s past narrative is incorporated and signifies that this message is likely still meaningful to her today.
The EP closes out with “Powers.” This final track is embedded with illustrative metaphors and rhetorical questions. The lyrics that describe space, scientific technology and even aliens are used to portray why one is the way they are. For example, “How did it start? / Did I fall into a nuclear reactor? / Crawl out with acid skin or somethin’ worse / A hostile alien ambassador? / Or am I simply another of the universe’s failed experiments?” This song is an English major’s dream and is a beautiful song when you understand the meaning behind it.
If you have not yet listened to boygenius’ new songs or any of their discography, I highly recommend you do. There is a song for everyone, and there are lyrics that will hit close to home and allow you to realize that you are not alone.