Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker have been without question three of the most important songwriters of the last ten years. These are generation defining musicians, songwriters who the world needs to be paying attention to. If that wasn’t enough, we now have the long-awaited album from boygenius which sees Phoebe, Lucy and Julien combining their talent and their friendship to form a band and treat us to an album that needs to find its way into every single record collection on this planet.
The album opens with Without You Without Them which combines the vocals of Phoebe, Lucy and Julien in a way that is full of beauty, vulnerability, hope and quite simply some of the greatest harmonies ever put down on record. $20 is next and what an incredible song this is, this is one that will get you out of the house and make you feel ready for whatever challenges the world throws at you. It will leave you feeling angered and believe in the power of people to change the world, to fight the wrongs and come together to make the world a better place. Emily I’m Sorry is as beautiful as indie-pop gets, the melodies and gentle vocals combine to melt your heart. This is a song that is full of apologies, trying to find your place in the world and figure out who you truly are; “I’m 27 and I don’t know who I am / But I know what I want”. True Blue contains lyrics that are full of honesty, trying to find your way in relationships, reflecting on who you are and who you are when you are around others “And it feels good to be known so well / I can’t hide from you like I hide from myself”. It is lyrics like this that add further weighting to the argument that Phoebe, Lucy and Julien are generation defining musicians.
The album flows in such a remarkable way, every song you hear has been crafted with so much raw emotion and comes from a place of lived experience. Cool About It is a great example of this “Once I took your medication to know what it’s like”. These lyrics are sung over a delicate acoustic guitar melody that will send shivers all over your body. You can imagine this being played at a festival in the summer, just as the sun is setting and the entire audience are hanging on every word that is being sung. Not Strong Enough is one of the greatest songs you will hear this year, the arrangements are out of this world, allowing the song to envelope the listener in such a graceful way. There is a very subtle shift when the trio start chanting “Always an angel never a god”, a statement you will be singing along with at the top of your voice and you won’t realise how you got there, which is the exact reason why this song is such a powerful and important song.
Revolution O is a heart-breaking song overflowing with vulnerability that will make you forget what you were doing. All your thoughts will soon be held firmly within the very soul of this song, and if you do find tears pouring from your eyes whilst listening there really is no shame in that at all. Leonard Cohen is another masterpiece of a song, just take the lyric “Leonard Cohen once said, There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in / And I am not an old man, having an existential crisis / At a Buddhist monastery, writing horny poetry / But I agree.”
Satanist is another rousing song that makes you feel glad to be alive. We’re In Love is another one of those stop what you are doing moments. The vocals hold your attention and will never let you go. Anti-Curse is driven by guitars and drums that allow the listener to go on a journey with the song from which you may never want to return. The lyrics take you down the road of remembering what it was like to be young, trying to find your way in this complicated world, trying to be figure out friendships and to be the best version of yourself you can be. “There we were / Was anyone ever so young? / Breakin’ curfew with illegal fireworks / Unpackin’ God in the suburbs”.
Letter To An Old Poet brings this perfect album to a perfect end, the subject matter and lyrics of this song are once again full of emotions, honesty and song writing from the heart. This is another powerful song about deserving better in life, having the confidence to walk away from relationships, learning to have confidence in yourself and to love yourself. “I wanna be happy / I’m ready to walk into my room without lookin’ for you”.
As far as albums go they really do not get much better than The Record. There is not a moment on here that you will want to skip through, it is an album that you can get lost in, it is an album that will inspire you, it is an album to make you realise you are not on your own, it is an album that will leave you feeling confident within yourself. Not only are Phoebe, Lucy and Julien generation defining artists in their own rights, with boygenius they are now a once in a generation band.