Album Review: the record by boygenius

(Source: Cat Zhang (

By Ellis Seul (I), Head Editor

Last month, indie-rock supergroup boygenius released their long-awaited debut album, the record, and it has fascinated fans and critics alike with its introspective lyrics and excellent interplay among the three band members. Consisting of singer-songwriters Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, the band formed in 2018 and released their self-titled debut EP in October of that year. This year, they put out their first full-length LP, and it has turned out spectacularly.

the record opens with “Without You Without Them,” an acapella in which the singers reflect on the importance of their family and friends to their identity. The song then transitions into “$20,” which starts as a Baker-led rock jam before shifting into a complex jumble that showcases the three singers’ musical chemistry. Next up is “Emily I’m Sorry,” a sentimental song in which Bridgers apologizes to an ex; its downbeat nature is reminiscent of her acclaimed 2020 album Punisher. Finishing up the trio of lead singles is “True Blue,” led by Dacus, which dabbles with alternative-country leanings.

After the harmonious ballad “Cool About It” comes “Not Strong Enough,” a highlight of the album. The song juxtaposes an upbeat instrumental with lyrics about self-doubt, and it culminates with an anthemic refrain of “always an angel, never a god” in which the singers’ vocal harmonies shine through. “Revolution 0,” another standout track, follows. Revolving around an acoustic guitar riff, Bridgers’ lyrics offer insight on how depression has influenced her songwriting process.

The next track, “Leonard Cohen,” is short and sweet, in which Dacus reflects on her friendship with the other boygenius members while interpolating a line from Cohen’s own music. Another more upbeat number, “Satanist,” follows this one. On it, Baker, Bridgers and Dacus exchange satirical lines about adopting different ideologies, resulting in a touching tribute to youth and rebellion.

The album begins to wind down with “We’re In Love,” a guitar-driven, Dacus-led ballad about love and loyalty. Her soulful vocals combine with soft piano background to create a moving standout track. After this is “Anti-Curse,” a more straightforward indie-rock cut on which Baker reflects on a near-drowning experience and feelings of teen rebelliousness.

Finally, the record closes with “Letter to an Old Poet,” in which all three members consider a toxic relationship and its aftermath. The song rounds out the record perfectly, with the members’ vocal coordination reflecting their togetherness, both as musicians and people. This unity is an overarching theme of the record and part of what makes it such an incredible album.

Baker, Bridgers and Dacus’ musical chemistry make the record stand out as one of 2023’s strongest releases so far, and fans of the band will be excited to see where their musical partnership takes them next.