All-girl indie supergroup boygenius released their latest extended play, “the rest,” on Friday, Oct 13, as a companion to their full-length debut album, “the record,” that was released back in March. The EP is made up of four songs that did not make the original track list.
Boygenius is what happens when the musical masterminds that are singer-songwriters Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus come together and write songs with lyrical themes of existentialism and intimate friendship. The group released their self-titled EP in 2018 to critical acclaim, garnering the group a fanbase independent of their careers as solo artists.
A highly anticipated release from the trio five years in the making,“the record” did not disappoint. From poignant acoustic ballads like “Cool About It” to headbanging rock anthems like “Satanists,” the album provided a depressingly comforting journey with concepts of lack of identity, relationship dissatisfaction and societal rebellion as some of the stops along the way.
2023 has been the year of boygenius with a top-charting album, a “Rolling Stone” cover, opening for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and their own international tour with several sold-out shows. Another highlight was the release of their third project together, “the rest.”
Fans all over social media have joked about how they are going to have to wait five more years for new music from the group. None of them could have predicted that they would be getting new boygenius songs only six months after the release of their first album.
The tracks of the EP reflect some of the themes mentioned previously. In a similar fashion, each song on the EP is headed by a different member.
The opening track, “Black Hole,” led predominantly by Baker and Dacus, is a song about the existing duality in everything. The lyrics, “You can see the stars, the ones / The headlines said this morning / Were bein’ spat out by what we thought / Was destroyin’ everything for good,” show how something that is seen as destructive can also aid in the creation of something beautiful — like black holes in relation to galaxies and stars.
“Afraid of Heights,” led by Dacus, deals with the desire to live a life that is fulfilling but being held back by the anxieties of everyday life. The song uses a fear of heights as a metaphor and contrasting viewpoints between a daredevil and someone more cautious.
Phoebe Bridgers takes the lead on “Voyager,” a song about being in a relationship with someone the narrator loves so much but has to leave to save themselves. Besides being named after the Voyager 1 spacecraft, the title refers to going on a voyage and leaving someone. Bridgers sings, “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.”
Though there are six credited songwriters on this song alone, Bridgers probably wrote that specific line. The songstress has an affinity for writing about objects in space, most notably the moon. The narrator leaving this relationship is, compared to walking on the moon, “easy” and light. The “Pale Blue Dot” is a picture of the Earth from 1990. The “dot” signifies that Bridgers would have given the world to her partner, even though they took everything from her.
Finally, Baker-led “Powers” presents the questions “Where do I come from?” and “Why am I the way that I am?” Baker uses superhero-esque origin tropes and quantum physics-related topics as metaphors to help her make sense of her existence.
I am so grateful that “the boys,” a name that the female musicians use for themselves as a term of endearment, decided to share more of what they had to offer. It is easy for someone to look at the title of the project and its content and think that it is merely the rejects from “the record,” but I disagree.
“the rest” is simply a brief, complementary piece that is meant to continue the “voyage” that “the record” initially brought us along for.