boygenius review: the rest is history
In their most recent release, boygenius delivers a powerful EP marking the end of the band’s most monumental year yet. The supergroup, formed in 2018 and comprised of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, released the record on Oct. 13, following its announcement during the first night of the U.S. leg of the tour for their debut album, the record.
The EP builds upon the momentum created by the record to close out this chapter of their musical career. After a year spent achieving successes like climbing the Billboard charts to a top five spot, playing a second line billing at Coachella, and selling out venues like Madison Square Garden, the rest offers an introspective look into the minds of Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus at a time when fans wonder just how they’re managing it all. The answer, as it usually is with the group, can be found interwoven between themes of friendship, identity, and an exploration of the relationships that define us.
Coming in at a runtime of 12 minutes, the rest opens with “Black Hole,” beginning with a steady piano and Baker’s isolated voice. The song continues Baker’s reflection on the black hole that first appeared in the record’s fan favorite, “Not Strong Enough.” Whereas in the record, it was a source of anxiety and unease (“Black hole opened in the kitchen/Every clock’s a different time”), the rest offers a more hopeful interpretation. Baker references a recently discovered runaway black hole that creates a trail of new stars rather than destroying existing ones.
“Afraid of Heights,” showcases boygenius’s writing abilities best in the EP. Dacus’s narrator grapples between the desire for adventure and security, lamenting, “I never rode a motorcycle, I never smoked a cigarette. I want to live a vibrant life but I want to die a boring death.”
Bridgers has her moment on the EP with “Voyager,” bridging the thematic discussions of the moon within her own music and boygenius’s work. She drifts through the song, almost reminiscing about her music career and inspirations so far with references to her bandmates’ and her own past work until the final lines, when she lands on the moon. Hinting at her 2020 track “Moon Song” off her Punisher album, Bridgers sings, “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.”
The final song, “Powers,” is reminiscent of the penultimate track of the record, “Anti-Curse.” Baker closes the EP with the signature quiet strength and intensity she brings to the group. She questions how her life became what it is, asking, “How did it start…Am I simply another of the universe’s failed experiments?”
She reflects, “I have never heard, never heard, the tale of how I got my powers.” The notion is interesting when taken in the context of the band’s massive success since their beginning. From finding their way to one another in 2018 to the whirlwind 2023 has been for them, the amazement and wonder in the question of how it all started is not lost on the listener.
After Baker’s final lines, a minute of horns and strings close out the EP. They take their time, unhurried and confident, perfectly representing where the group is at in their career and gently marking the end of this chapter.