January 18, 2023

boygenius - "$20" / "Emily I'm Sorry" / "True Blue"

They're back! The illustrious supergroup boygenius have announced their debut album and shared three new songs!

2018's self-titled EP could've been it for boygenius, the group comprised of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, as the members have propelled to much deserved new heights in the wake of its release, but after appearing on some festival posters, it's official: boygenius are back together and have a full-length release on the way. Along with the announcement of a proper album, the band has shared three singles, each sung by a different member of the group. "$20" is the Baker-penned track and full of the expansive, super-sized rock sound she explored on her last album, Little Oblivions. Here, the band reaches towering heights and Baker absolutely rips it to shreds. Easily the heaviest track the three have recorded together, Baker's defiant scream sounds euphoric and builds up to something pretty magical before dissolving into the ether. A stand-out example of the trajectory she embarked on for her last record, here she's crystalized it into something transformative and she soars beyond expectation. It's the most magnetic of the three and pushes them slightly out of their comfort zones and into new territory while the others feel closer to the sounds we've come to love from the trio. Bridgers, who has easily grown into the superstar of the group, offers up "Emily I'm Sorry," a song she wrote along with her breakout album Punisher and the one she sent to the others and asked "can we be a band again?" It's full of the ambient, dream-like quality sound Phoebe brilliantly captured on her last album, enhanced here by her bandmates as their angelic voices make for an even more elegant background than we could've imagined. The slow-churning guitar does enough to propel the song forward as Bridgers' now signature vocals take precedent to offer up bleary-eyed emotions that she encapsulates so well. Lucy Dacus brings the trio home on "True Blue," a real stunner of a track, and one that keeps her lyrical genius in pristine condition. "You say you're a winter bitch, but summer is in your blood / you can't help but become the sun" is the kind of lyric Taylor Swift wishes she could write and proves that Dacus is hitting her stride with extreme confidence and confirms that the long wait for a follow-up was absolutely worth it. Even without covering a ton of new ground, the trio sound alive and full of conviction, their assertive voices demanding attention and their lyrics full of power. They've dug in their heels and seem primed to make their definitive statement, fully engulfed and committed to their sound, each one highlighting subtle flourishes that elevate everything they do on their own and maximize it with unmitigated power. In the time since their EP, each singer has taken on larger audiences and found their voices as those leading a generation of young people who are ready and willing to let their emotions loose and these songs are here to be the soundtrack. We're lucky enough to be able to have such solid releases from each of these talented singers, but to have them come together once again feels unbelievably special. Supergroups can often be a recipe for disaster as egos can conflict and records can turn out to be a  convoluted mess of ideas that never gel, but boygenius have once again bucked the trends and continue to craft songs that feel every bit authentic to each artist as much as cohesive statements where each artist knows their place and when to let the others shine. It's a prime example of knowing how and when to trust a friend and we're blessed that these three can come together to create something that truly is greater than the sum of its parts. Generational talents that are every bit as impressive together as they are on their own.

the record is out March 31 via Interscope/Polydor.

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