Review: “The Record” in full


by Kyle Werner, Feature Editor

We’ve waited three long, tortuous months to be emotionally devastated (again) by the musical geniuses behind Boygenius. The first three singles made up the general idea of the album. Alongside these three, the group also released another song from the album, “Not Strong Enough.” So, naturally, I had to wait until the rest of the album was released on March 31 to fulfill my duties of providing exactly how emotionally devastated I was after listening through “The Record” and how this is a completely natural response to such a musical masterpiece. 

The iconic trio of Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers continue to live up to the precedent they set up for themselves at the beginning of this year. 

The album starts off with an acapella song, “Without You Without Them,” which I find to be a great opener not only because it is such a simple listen but it definitely eases you into the feeling of reinvented melancholy. By this, I mean that it almost feels like a plea for the listener to keep listening and listen to the story that this album has to tell, “I’ll give everything I’ve got / Please, take what I can give / I want you to hеar my story / And be a part of it.”

And then the next three songs are the three previously released singles “$20,” “Emily I’m Sorry,” and “True Blue,” which you can check out in my first review

After recounting oblivion and sorrow and finding out what love means in a brand new (blue) way, the album twists into how it feels to be on the giving side of a relationship (whether it romantic or platonic is totally up to the listener), and how it can be hard to understand someone else, but it’s at least worth a shot, even if communication can run itself raw. ”Once, I took your medication to know what it’s like / And now, I have to act like I can’t read your mind / I ask you how you’re doing and I let you lie.” 

Then, almost a complete 180, “Not Strong Enough,” or the fourth released single back in March, tells the other side of the story; the hyper-aware individual who recognizes that they can’t live up to what a partner might need or rather that they aren’t the right person for the job. “The way I am / Not strong enough to be your man / I tried, I can’t / Stop staring at the ceiling fan and / Spinning out about things that haven’t happened / Breathing in and out.” I find this to be the climax of the album, because it’s about self-actualization, no matter how painful it is, no matter how much it hurts to admit it

The songs following this epiphany recall how it feels to be in love when it isn’t reciprocated (Revolution 0), how it feels to be completely caught up in the moment that you lose reality (Leonard Cohen, yes the poet), what it’s like to reclaim religion for yourself and define it in a  new way (Satanist) or what it’s like to experience love in a way that you’d never expect, in a way that the smallest of things can make the biggest impact (We’re in Love). 

Then there’s a sharp turn at “Anti- Curse” which basically recounts Baker’s near-death experience at Malibu Beach. This is literally about how she almost died, yes, but also that living in the moment is more important than ever because it’s what you think about as death tries to grip your hand. 

The album ends with a tribute to one of their first songs recorded together, “Me & My Dog,” which is about the complete and utter terror of anxiety and how it’d just be easier to go away (with your dog) and escape from reality (in a spaceship, with an impossible view). The final song, “Letter to an Old Poet,” is an ode to such anxiety, and how it is a completely and utterly valid state of mind, but that there is healing after the fact. Instead of “I wanna be emaciated / I wanna hear one song without thinking of you / I wish I was on a spaceship / Just me and my dog and an impossible view,” it turns into “I wanna be happy / I’m ready to walk into my room without lookin’ for you / I’ll go up to the top of our building / And remember my dog when I see the full moon.” This is the emotional parallel that every Boygenius feared for, and has cried to in the best possible way. 

Healing can now commence. This album is all about self-acceptance and healing. It’s an album that makes you reflect on your state of mind and how it permeates into the world around you. 

The three months were worth the wait (also, the vinyl I got is SICK, and it came with a cool picture and a tooth tattoo).