Music Radar: The Record Album Review

The record received overwhelming critical acclaim by critics.

Fair use: Pitchfork

The record received overwhelming critical acclaim by critics.

Boygenius (stylized as boygenius) is an indie folk supergroup composed of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker. I have always held Phoebe Bridgers in high regard since the release of her solo album, Punisher back in 2020. I had very high hopes for the newest release and first full-length album from boygenius, the record. I was excited not just because Bridger’s name was associated with the project, but also due to the outrageous amount of critical acclaim that the album received immediately upon release. I counted a staggering 11 perfect scores from critics ranging from NME to The Independent. Once I saw that, I knew I had to review this album and see if these perfect scores hold any water. 

The record is definitely the most low-key album I have reviewed yet. Mostly acoustic-folk with the occasional rock song thrown in to keep things interesting. The opening track “Without You Without Them” is a great example of the intimate energy of the album with its lofi acapella singing and harmonizing that reminds me almost of a barbershop quartet. It’s a short and sweet song that introduces us to the three artists and the album perfectly.

The next song, “$20” is a driving rock track and definitely the most sonically interesting of all the songs on this album. The song just builds and builds until the vocals are completely washed out with noise–I love it! After this though, the album starts to tail a bit. During the three song run of “Emily I’m Sorry”, “True Blue”, and “Cool About It”, I felt absolutely nothing. The sound of “Emily I’m Sorry” and “True Blue” feel very derivative of Olivia Rodrigo and not even her good stuff. “Cool About It” is my least favorite on the entire album. The acoustic guitar and banjo pairing would have been cool if they did anything interesting with it, but in practice it is a nonstarter. However, the lyrics were decent at least.

“Not Strong Enough” and “Satanist” are my favorite songs on the record. “Not Strong Enough” has a youthful energy that just overflows from the start. The singing by Bridgers soars over the bustling acoustic guitars and the chorus on this song is so fun. “Satanist” brings the electric guitar back into the mix for a laid back rock song with a chorus that hits you in the teeth. This is definitely the heaviest song on the album that just gets heavier and heavier until it all drops out for a quiet outro. Unfortunately, the outro is the only gripe I had with the song. If the record as a whole was a more intense and high energy album, the outro would be perfect, but it kills the momentum of the song and the record.

Letting the album stew after a few listens, I can’t help but feel confused by the amount of overwhelming praise that it received. Don’t get me wrong, this album is good, but 11 perfect scores is absurd for what I heard. Perfect scores should be reserved for boundary pushing and revolutionary records and this is just not one of them. The writing across this whole album is very solid, but sonically it can drag… a lot. For the record, the record gets a 7/10.