Boygenius’s ‘The Record’ is effortlessly sad- but not much else


‘The Record’ was released March 31, 2023.

Allison Scherquist, Entertainment Editor

With evocative vocals and painstakingly crafted lyrics “The Record” marks the return of the indie-folk supergroup Boygenuis. The trio consisting of Lucy Dacus, Julian Baker, and indie sensation Phoebe Bridgers has earned their way into the hearts of sad girls across the nation.

After a five-year hiatus allowing the members to focus on solo work, they finally made their grand return this March. Their sophomore album, “The Record” begs the question, “Was this really worth the wait?”

Boygenius is nothing but authentic; they don’t add overly-sophisticated lyrics into their songs, they’re only interested in speaking the truth as they know it. While this is one of their highest strengths as a band, it can also be one of their biggest weaknesses.

The biggest disappointment of this album lies in its lyricism. The strongest offender of this is “Revolution 0,” Bridger’s lyric “I don’t wanna die/ that’s a lie” serves as foreshadowing to the type of shallow songwriting that haunts the entire tracklist.

Lyrics like “You made me feel like an equal/ But I’m better than you” and “Wish I wasn’t so tired/ But I’m tired” read just as juvenile despite their inherent gloom, leading to very few songs invoking any other emotion but slight and dull sadness.

This is especially upsetting for Boygenuis, as the members have built a reputation as solo artists for their exploration of emotionally complex themes. Songs “Anti-Curse” and “Leonard Cohen” disappoint with lyrics that refuse to dive deep and lack the ability to truly be about anything. With slow, uninteresting production that doesn’t make up for lyrical flaws, there’s little point in having these songs on the album at all.

This isn’t to say the album isn’t without its strengths. On a few songs, the instrumentation manages to build an impeccable atmosphere with cooling drums and melodic beats. “Emily I’m Sorry” in particular reads as a song one could turn on and feel as if they are sinking into an ocean.

On the contrary, more upbeat songs on the album “Satanist” and “$20” feel straight out of an angsty teen movie. As Bridgers sings “Will you be an anarchist with me?/ Sleep in cars and kill the bourgeoisie” one can imagine themselves as any main character walking out of a raunchy coming-of-age film.

“The Record ” ends with “Letter To An Old Poet ” an interesting homage to the band’s previous work if one can get past the droning first half. Lyrics “I wanna be happy/ I wanna walk into a room without looking for you/ I’ll walk to the top of our building/ And remember my dog when I see the full moon,” seemingly take inspiration from Boygenuis’s biggest hit “Me & My Dog” where Bridgers originally sings “I wanna be emaciated/ I want to hear one song without thinking of you/ I wish I was on a spaceship/ Just me and my dog and an impossible view.”

For long-time listeners of the band, this moment is a bone-chilling callback and proves to be a certain highlight on the otherwise monotonous album.

Boygenuis’s most fatal mistake is their refusal to dive into anything substantial. The majority of songs on “The Record” are dull and repetitive and the better ones are few and far between. It’s a record I could only imagine one would put on if they wanted to experience the most unexciting depression. Lucy Dacus describes their newest album best when she sings “Damn it makes me sad/It doesn’t have to be like that.”