Music Notes with Maddy: Track 6

A gut-wrenching album that has the capacity to make one cry and celebrate simultaneously ;)

Maddy Bergey, Editor

As my most-recent addiction, the record (yes, all lowercase!) by boygenius (again, all lowercase!) is this week’s feature on this music review. This album completely awed the listeners of boygenius due to the musicianship, heart-wrenching lyrics, and beautiful songwriters themselves. Though they released an EP in 2018, the record is their first official album as a group. While the three band members—Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker—joined forces to create these works, most songs seemingly have a lead singer, whether shown through the lyrics or audible nature.

“Without You Without Them” starts off the album with a short, acapella song. In an interview with the three band members, they stated this first song is “. . . a love letter to the mortifying ordeal of being known, written in a pandemic world that violently reminded us how much we need each other.” It definitely forces one to reflect upon who they are and how they are affected by others.

On a very different note, “$20” comes next. Rather than being more mellow, this track features the boygenius members quite literally screaming. This phrase contains big emotions, which is conveyed as the voices seem paralyzed and hysterical. “$20” features various allusions to self-destruction by making references to graveyards, shotguns, arson, and more.

As a heartbreaking tribute to versions of oneself that may be diluted, “Emily I’m Sorry” comes consequently. Though it is allegedly about one of Phoebe’s old lovers, it was actually used as a medium of communication to reunite the band. Perhaps some of the most heartbreaking lyrics within the song are, “And I can feel myself becoming / Someone only you could want,” which seems to display how versions or pieces of ourself may still inherently be tethered back to a person, whether or not they choose to be present in our lives.

Next comes one of my personal favorites, “True Blue,” as it explores topics surrounding self-identity. The song references both hiding from oneself and someone else, which ends up to reveal perhaps a rare, raw version of oneself. There is something so humbling about the song, as the lyrics talk about being loved by someone who makes you remember who you are; though this could potentially be a detrimental thing in certain situations, the three sing it so gently and tenderly, making listeners feel it comes from a genuine place.

“Revolution 0” appears after skipping ahead a few tracks. The song lyrics propose an overwhelming blue feeling, as they characterize an absent lover as an imaginary friend and pose questions surrounding the validity of some forms of love.

To end the album, “Letter To An Old Poet” is the last song, which is a spin-off of “Me & My Dog”—a song from their 2018 EP. Honestly, this song breaks me each time I hear it. Though it inevitably features a subconscious cynical notion, it also provides some hope about moving past things that once felt debilitating. This song feels like a tribute to feeling rage and then churning out something beautiful from it; I especially feel this in the lyric, “You don’t get to tell me to calm down,” as it seems rooted in aggression yet features the appreciation for new independence.

To me, this album has a special place in my heart due to it feeling like an ode to letting things go in order to create space for better, more enriching things to be let in.