Five years after the release of their self-titled EP, the trio Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers — known as “boygenius” — has returned with a unique and beautifully written album, “the record.”

“Without You Without Them”

Beginning with the a cappella “Without You Without Them,” this album immediately highlights the artists’ friendship as a theme, melding their voices as one. This song introduces the true meaning behind the album as it thanks people that came before the artists for the impact they have had on their lives, good or bad.


The stark contrast between track one and “$20” removes any idea that this album may consist of 43 minutes of the same tune. A song about rebellion and formative relationships, “$20” feels restless, using strong percussion to agitate the music and introduce the listener to themes about moving on from a restless past.

“Emily I’m Sorry”

A beg for forgiveness, this song pulls at the heartstrings and adds to the narrative of the album, taking responsibility for wrongs done unto others by Bridgers and recognizing mistakes that people make through life. This song is not one for the faint of heart, but its introspection and acceptance of faults give the listener a lot to think about as they continue through “the record.”

“True Blue”

Leading from a song asking forgiveness, this mellow tune freely pardons others, accepting faults in friends and valuing strong friendships over petty arguments. This song is at once calming and energetic and highlights the connection and love between the artists.

“Cool About It”

This song is more acoustic than the previous ones, creating a tune that supports lyrics that are both depressing and comforting. There is something solid in this song, with the three singers each singing about supporting friends even when they do not want to discuss the fact that they need support.

“Not Strong Enough”

Another upbeat and heart-wrenching song about insecurities and introspection as a relationship falls apart, this song brings the beat up without losing the focus of the album. This is the second song with a cannon of harmonies. It gets the adrenaline pumping and makes anyone want to belt out, even if the lyrics are more frustrating than happy.

“Revolution 0”

The movement in this album is seemingly never-ending, transitioning from the high-energy “Not Strong Enough” to this far more tranquil song that almost seems like a transition from one half of the album to the next. While all of the songs before this one highlight frustration with one’s own behavior and insecurities, this song and the ones that follow are more about forgiveness after all of the hardship.

“Leonard Cohen”

Short and sweet, this unassuming tune featuring Dacus is the first objectively happy song on the album, reflecting on time spent with friends and small moments of love in daily life. The harmonies on the last “I never thought you’d happen to me” really draw the listener in and provide insight into the meaning of the album as a whole.


Equally splitting each verse between the three singers in this song, this high-energy tune highlights the way that people can value different things and still come together as kindred spirits. Three separate philosophies — satanism, anarchism and nihilism — are highlighted by each singer until the end, when they come together to sing about being seen, slowing down and harmonizing once again to lower the energy of the song.

“We’re In Love”

Continuing on the theme of kindred spirits and love enduring despite people having differing philosophies around life, this song serenely explains the devotion that comes with loving someone. This song remembers relationships and honors them even if they are no longer in the singers’ lives in this sad but mostly comforting tune.


A song about hardships and insecurities leading to strong friendships and good things coming despite a difficult life, this song reenergizes the album right at the end. The line “I guess I did alright considering” perfectly encapsulates this idea as the three singers come together at a point of Thanksgiving even as they’re thinking about all of the trials they’ve gone through.

“Letter to an Old Poet”

A full circle moment back to the boygenius EP, this song is the ultimate recovery of self-confidence. These singers are grounded by the end of this album, and this song shows the growth that the entire album works to demonstrate.

Ultimately, this is an album that draws the listener in with its unique structure and interesting harmonies. It keeps people listening with beautiful lyrics and strong themes about love and friendship. The combination of three distinct musical styles only strengthens the artistic integrity of their music and the heartwarming themes as they work to create a cohesive album without losing individual voices.