Supergroup boygenius is officially out of hibernation and the season of the Sapphics is back. Once indie music’s best kept secret, the holy trinity of sad girl singer-songwriters recently announced their comeback from the front cover of Rolling Stone.
Clad in matching striped tuxes and red ties, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus strike a triangulated power pose; if the shot happens to look familiar, that’s because it’s a very fresh and queer take on Nirvana’s 1994 Rolling Stone cover. Bridgers’s platinum blonde places her in the middle of the trifecta, posed after where Kurt Cobain stood for the original shot.
It was back in 2018 that boygenius first dropped their beloved EP; featuring hits like “Me & My Dog” and “Bite The Hand,” the self-titled EP is revered for catalyzing an industry-wide boom for queer, independent artists and indie labels. Once released from the Dead Oceans label—where she created and received acclaim for Punisher (2020)—Bridgers started Saddest Factory Records as her own label. In a ripple effect, Bridgers has signed and supported breakout queer artists Claud and MUNA.
In the same respect, both Dacus and Baker also followed up their boygenius EP with insanely successful solo projects: Julien Baker’s Little Oblivions and Dacus’s Home Video. Much like Bridgers’s work with Dead Oceans, Little Oblivions and Home Video were both released from an independent record label: Matador Records. Following each of their breakouts as artists, independent labels recognized queer musicians and fans as an untapped market that clearly had the potential to achieve mainstream commercial success. With each of their solo careers taking off, signs of boygenius’s continued life were only to be found few and far between—until now.
Bridgers, Baker, and Dacus may just release the last record we’ll ever need to hear.
The buzz around boygenius’s return began on January 10th, after the band was announced to play in the Coachella 2023 lineup. Naturally, the three boy-geniuses didn’t arrive to their comeback empty-handed: Eight long days after the Coachella announcement, the drought officially ended with the delivery of an album announcement and three new singles: “$20,” “Emily I’m Sorry,” and “True Blue.”
Simply titled The Record, the debut album by boygenius is set to be released on March 31st via the heavy-hitter record label Interscope Records. Such a cleverly broad title leaves the implication that Bridgers, Baker, and Dacus may just release the last record we’ll ever need to hear.
In addition to dropping three songs from the album, boygenius also revealed the whole tracklist; “Revolution O,” “Leonard Cohen,” “Satanist,” and “Letters to an Old Poet” all prove to be very promising titles.
Each of the rock stars is granted a turn to lead on the three new singles. Julien Baker sets a furiously strummed pace on “$20,” Bridgers and Dacus follow the rugged riffs; finishing each other’s sentences, all three meet up to astral project on a chaotically coordinated chorus about desperately needing an extra twenty dollars. As the song dissolves into smashing cymbals and whining steel strings, Bridgers howls at the moon and quite literally screams, “I know you have twenty dollars!”
On the acoustic-based “Emily I’m Sorry,” Phoebe Bridgers takes the reins. Tugging at the heartstrings as usual, Dacus and Baker follow Bridgers down into the depths of lost loves and unspoken apologies. “Emily I’m Sorry” embodies the memories we bury deep down and keep to ourselves—but boygenius sings their secrets for all the hear.
Now that boygenius is releasing on Interscope as a major label (Universal Music Group), here are some more queer indie bands that are bound to blow up:
— Crying in the Critique (@Beccabarglow) January 20, 2023
“True Blue” sees Dacus spiraling out in the spotlight as she sings, “When you don’t know who you are/ You fuck around and find out.” Baker and Bridgers harmonize behind Dacus, carrying her sullen vocals up into the air to dissipate like smoke. Surrounded by atmospheric sound on all sides, Dacus struggles with a loyalty that remained in spite of a love that did not.
It’s also worth noting that the debut by boygenius will be the first of any project by all three artists to ever be released on a major record label. Bridgers, Dacus, and Baker are headed to the big leagues, but not without leaving even more barriers broken behind them.
The Record by boygenius drops March 31st. Spotify’s “sad girl starter pack” playlist is not ready.♦