6th November 2023
It would be hard to talk about this year and indie music without indie-rock supergroup boygenius, consisting of Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers. With their debut album, The Record released in March of this year the newly reformed band gained critical acclaim and swiftly announced a 43-stop North America and Europe tour which included four sell-out UK shows. The follow-up was another EP titled The Rest released just last week, more reminiscent of the styling of their first EP boygenius nonetheless it has achieved just as much adoration from the band’s devoted fanbase. The question is what makes boygenius so successful and what else is to come?
The central theme of boygenius’ work has been friendship and this transfers to the stage. The middle of the set is simply a love letter to Julien Baker featuring songs written in each of the member’s solo careers. One of the most heartfelt moments of the Gunnersbury Park set was for me Dacus’ performance of Please Stay, in that moment there was no dry eye in the audience.
Between songs, the band discuss each other, their friendship, and the project itself. Tracks like True Blue, and We’re in Love beautifully encapsulate the depth and significance of their bond, striking a chord with their audience as they explore the intricacies of feminine friendships. The absence of explicitly romantic themes in their songs makes their music relatable to a broader audience. This is where boygenius truly excels— in their lyrical exploration of human connections, embracing both their beauty and moments of vulnerability and embarrassment.
Boygenius, labelled as artists of ‘sad girl’ music, have embarked on a journey to redefine this label in both their band and solo careers. Their songwriting, in their Album and EP, traverses a wide spectrum of emotions, touching on themes of loss, vulnerability, and frustration, as well as moments of joy and affection. Boygenius achieves a remarkable balance between evocative lyrics and harsher melodies, particularly in tracks like Satanist and Anti-curse. Their introspective and emotionally charged lyrics strike a deep chord with listeners, resonating because of the raw and honest storytelling in their music.
Boygenius, since its inception, has actively engaged in politics, consistently advocating for various causes. They proudly and openly identify as queer and left-wing, using their platforms to champion LGBTQ+ rights and social justice. Their commitment to these causes extends beyond their music and into their actions and public statements. During their tours, they offered a platform to other queer bands and artists, such as MUNA, SOAK, and Claud.
Boygenius and their fanbase frequently wear symbols of queerness as a form of self-expression and solidarity, giving rise to a series of online jokes about stereotypes of the fanbase. The band highlights queer joy and friendship, elements that have traditionally been lacking in mainstream media. They successfully integrate their music with their political beliefs, transforming themselves into not only talented musicians but also activists—something their mainly young and queer fanbase seems to appreciate.
As fans eagerly anticipate boygenius’s future, the debate continues on whether they will collectively create new music or if the members will return to their solo careers. One thing is for sure: boygenius has made an indelible mark on the indie music scene and solidified a dedicated fanbase. Their unique blend of music, friendship, and activism has confirmed their place as a force to be reckoned with in the world of indie rock.