the record meets expectations to the letter – both for good and bad reasons at times. The boygenius trio have wonderful chemistry and excel together when given the opportunity to do so, but sometimes the individual moments feel a bit too isolated and can leave you wanting more.

Release date: March 31, 2023 | Interscope | Website | Twitter

Above all else this is a vibes album, and if you’re looking for some new sad music then look no further because the trinity have returned, following an almost five year gap from the debut EP of Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, and Phoebe Bridgers’ boygenius trio. These are three masters of their craft come together to create a truly magnificent set of sadgirl bops, but fortunately there’s more than just sadness to the vibes on the record. The trio’s strong friendship has been incredibly apparent in the album’s rollout and just as noticeable on the album itself which, along with Bridgers’ growth to full-on star, has been one of the bands most convincing selling points for new listeners. This has worked well enough to give the group one of the highest-charting albums in each of their careers.

The tracks where boygenius come together and get to show off their vibrant chemistry with full performances from each member are easily the best moments the album has to offer. The baton passing is effortless at every opportunity and Baker, Dacus, and Bridgers complement each other so well. Even on some of the tracks that serve as more of a solo effort, there’s normally some stellar background vocals from one of the other members, like Bridgers delivers on “$20”.

“Satanist” is one of the best and most energetic moments on the album with Bridgers and Dacus doing a super job adapting to the uptempo style that Baker pulls you in with when the track starts. Bridgers’ strongest verse on the project comes on the fantastic “Cool About It”, and the song’s folky guitar playing complements each of the trio perfectly. Chemistry wise, the closing moments of “Letter To An Old Poet” have some of the strongest group vocal performances that boygenius have done together in their years as a collective, following up another of Bridgers’ better verses.

Will you be a satanist with me?
Mortgage off your soul to buy your dream
Vacation home in Florida:
The collateral the devil’s repossessing from me
Trying to score some off-brand ecstasy’

‘Will you be an anarchist with me?
Sleep in cars and kill the bourgeoisie
At least until you find out what a fake I am
Spray-paint my initials on an ATM
I’d burn the cash and smash my old TV’

Throughout the album, Baker is constantly delivering some of the project’s best highlight reel moments. “$20”, “Satanist”, and “Anti-Curse” are some of the most energetic and memorable moments the project has to offer and Baker is primarily responsible for the thrill these changes in energy level bring to the project. While the more somber style that Bridgers and (especially) Dacus prefer would still have worked as a full project, the style switches Baker brings are greatly appreciated.

It’s a bad idea and I’m all about it
Give it one more chance and
Then I finally had it
When you wake up, I’ll be gone again
Motorcycle in the front lawn’

As you might expect, there can be some issues on the ‘solo’ tracks if your personal interest in the members varies. boygenius are stellar together and the tracks featuring them as equal partners shine the brightest, but it’s difficult to not find yourself drawn to your favorite when they start separating. Also, the number of overlapping skills that boygenius bring to the table to complement each other doesn’t exactly help set them apart when they’re delivering solo sections.

Surprisingly, Bridgers’ solo tracks did not land anywhere near as well as her solo work or her past work with the group, and are real low points for the project. “Emily I’m Sorry” was the weaker of the three singles released initially when the album was announced, and that hasn’t changed, although “Revolution 0” without a doubt takes the cake for weakest track on the album. Bridgers’ verses can go a little far in their stream-of-consciousness style, and “Revolution 0” is off the deep end with its meandering lyrics about wanting to beat up the person who hurt the imaginary voice in her head.

And as much as Baker’s talent shines on the project, it’s not always shining in a way that makes for enhancing the album’s relistenability. Baker is tasked with bringing the project some bounce, and she certainly delivers, but it’s a tough hill to climb when one of the members of the group is delivering more vibrant moments than the others.

boygenius have far more chemistry and compatibility than most other supergroups that rock has seen in its many years, and after two projects, definitely a better discography than many. There are still some warts to work out to get each member fully sounding like themselves on the solo moments (dropping the solo moments entirely also might work) but they’ll get there. the record is good and hopefully the band starts work on a new project sooner rather than later.

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