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boygenius launches listeners into orbit with ‘the rest’

Band’s latest EP reveals songs not included on previous album, sets itself apart from band’s earlier work

<p>boygenius touches on cosmic themes throughout their songs, creating the impression that the trio is looking down on their lives from outer space.</p><p>Courtesy of Chuff Media</p>

boygenius touches on cosmic themes throughout their songs, creating the impression that the trio is looking down on their lives from outer space.

Courtesy of Chuff Media

This past Friday, boygenius fans were anything but unlucky: The trio, composed of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, released their newest EP titled “the rest.”

While the title implies that these songs are “the rest” of the tracks that did not make it onto “the record,” which boygenius released in March of this year, the EP is notably more understated than the previous album’s dynamism. Bridgers explained in an interview that “these songs don’t belong on ‘the record’ ... But they make so much sense together.”

Listening to these songs as a unified project, rather than as individual tracks, reveals the group’s effortless songwriting and creative abilities. While the songs are good on their own, together their cosmic melodies coupled with sharp self-reflection create the impression that the trio is looking down on their lives from outer space. 

The EP opens with “Black Hole,” whose stripped-down introduction slowly unravels into an atmospheric symphony. Baker spearheads the first verse in which she references a recent NASA discovery of a black hole seemingly creating new stars. The song continues to ascend in the second verse, where Bridgers and Dacus’s voices meld together to offer uncomplicated yet striking lyrics.

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Dacus brings listeners back down to Earth with the next track, “Afraid of Heights.” The production of the song itself is beautiful — during the verses, Dacus’s voice is backed by a simple guitar progression before the song expands in the chorus, supported by Baker and Bridgers’s ethereal harmonies in the background. But the lyrics, which describe the tense relationship between the risk-averse narrator and their daredevil partner, are the true star of the track. The song features one of the most powerful lines from the EP: “I wanna live a vibrant life / But I wanna die a boring death.” While the verse is straightforward and less poetic than some of their other songwriting, its unintentional poignancy makes it stand out and reflects the overall allure of “the rest.”

boygenius touches on cosmic themes again in “Voyager.” The song is a slow, fragile piece that leaves listeners feeling untethered, floating in their sadness. Bridgers sings that her freedom from a relationship makes her “feel like a man on the moon,” but as she views the world from her new lunar vantage point, she laments that she “never imagined a dot quite as pale or as blue / You took it from me, but I would've given it to you.” With lyrics similar to “Moon Song” from Bridgers’s solo album “Punisher” and minimal inclusion of Baker and Dacus aside from humming in the background, the track seems more like a solo endeavor from Bridgers than a group effort.

“the rest” closes with “Powers,” whose guitar introduction rings similar to “Anti-Curse,” a track from “the record.” Baker questions the origin story of her unspecified powers and proposes that she may have acquired them from falling into a nuclear reactor or being abducted by aliens. As the song crescendos, she is joined by Bridgers and Dacus, and the lyrics in the chorus draw on references to astronomy and physics. 

While the track itself is a somewhat unimpressive ending to the EP, its final lines provide a redeeming conclusion to not only “the rest” but also to “the record,” and they encapsulate boygenius’s current era of making and performing music as a group. The trio sings, “​​The force of our impact, the fission / The hum of our contact, the sound of our collisions.” As they ponder the waves that their work together has made, it is evident that their influence radiates far beyond what they could have ever imagined.

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Daphne Dluzniewski

Daphne is an Arts & Culture writer from Austin, Texas. She is planning on studying International and Public Affairs. Her passions include cats, running and Phoebe Bridgers.



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