boygenius: Baker Bridgers Dacus LLC

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Yeah "$20" def feels more like a collaboration. Hope the album has more of that.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Monday, 6 February 2023 18:20 (three months ago) link

well yes the instrumentation and backing vocals, and the outro I guess, but verses sound very julien baker to me

corrs unplugged, Tuesday, 7 February 2023 09:53 (three months ago) link

even through the somewhat upbeat riff her voice and melodic sense reach for my tear ducts

corrs unplugged, Tuesday, 7 February 2023 09:54 (three months ago) link

It definitely still feels very julien baker, just a modified version of baker that might not have emerged in a different context.

"Souvenir" on the previous EP was like that too (whereas "Stay Down" feels like a song she brought to the session).

The other thing I like thinking about with this trio is how much their songs are apt to mutate in this context.

I think Dacus's songs are the most unyielding in a particular sense - less so on "True Blue" (which just feels like Dacus through and through, and I love it for that), but definitely on "Bite The Hand" and "Salt In The Wound" (where the most memorable moment in a field of memorable moments is Baker wailing along to "I'm gnashing my teeth like a child of Cain / if this is a prison, I'm willing to buy my own chain") it's like the songs go as far as they possibly can to take the benefit of the trio environment, but they still end up sounding like Dacus songs. But the flipside of that is that the Dacus songs on the 2018 EP sound more like songs from 2021's Home Video than they do like songs from the contemporaneous Historian, as if her songwriting is some form of metal that just absorbs the strength of anything that is thrown at it, and then redeploys that strength afterwards.

Bridgers' songwriting is predisposed to work in the Boygenius context - she already likes multitracking her vocals, so the further refraction of the harmonies just feels like an extension of her existing predilections - such that she can kind of give over her songs to the band context comfortable in the knowledge that whatever emerges still could have dropped into one of her albums without comment.

Baker's songs are the ones where it's like, "okay, this is either a Baker song or a Boygenius song" is a decision that needs to be made at the outset, perhaps because of how much she fills up the space of her songwriting with her personality on her own songs. Making space for others has to necessitate a different approach.

Tim F, Tuesday, 7 February 2023 10:25 (three months ago) link

you really have great ears Tim F

corrs unplugged, Tuesday, 7 February 2023 11:39 (three months ago) link

three weeks pass...

alright, officially excited to hear this album:

alpine static, Wednesday, 1 March 2023 18:22 (three months ago) link

Calling it now: album of the year.

I love this song. I love how the last line of the verses is also the first line of the choruses. I love how it is the most comprehensive blending of their songwriting and performance impulses yet. I love that the three artists currently operating who are most adept at creating a vibe of standing outside yourself and being able to expertly chronicle your flaws but also having no idea how to start unpicking the bad stitches in the mess of a cross-stitch you have made… found eachother and formed a band.

Tim F, Thursday, 2 March 2023 06:01 (three months ago) link

That video does more to make Phoebe Bridgers seem like a fun normal human rather than a intimidatingly skilled songwriter / cool kid / budding celebrity / ice queen than anything she's ever done, I think.

Also I'm obsessed with Julien's behavior on the roller coaster at :53-1:08

alpine static, Thursday, 2 March 2023 07:33 (three months ago) link

otm and otm

what a beautiful song

big fan of the sheryl crow tune too wonder if there's a slight inspiration from the vh1 storytellers stevie nicks interaction given the joyous touring video

corrs unplugged, Thursday, 2 March 2023 07:36 (three months ago) link

They were at the annual Tibet benefit at Carnegie Hall last night and unveiled another new song, "Cool About It."

birdistheword, Friday, 3 March 2023 01:25 (three months ago) link

Great song, even if these are the four best songs on the album that would be a good album.

Bought tickets for one of the UK shows today - going with my daughter who is a megafan; the EP is huge in our lockdown mythos. Ethel Cain supporting, which is pretty great.

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 3 March 2023 19:01 (three months ago) link

“I don’t know why I am not strong enough to be your man / I lied, I am, just lowering your expectations”

Tim F, Friday, 3 March 2023 23:55 (three months ago) link


Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 3 March 2023 23:57 (three months ago) link

I tried, I can't
Stop staring at the ceiling fan and
Spinning out about things that haven't happened

alpine static, Saturday, 4 March 2023 00:18 (three months ago) link

I've tipped over into the "this song gives me chills" zone

alpine static, Saturday, 4 March 2023 00:19 (three months ago) link

Almost as fun as the song itself is imagining them sitting around thinking up all these rejoinders to the Sheryl tune.

Tim F, Saturday, 4 March 2023 01:53 (three months ago) link

here's my tiny and pointless quibble: i wish they had repeated "go home alone" at the end one more time and kept the music going to accommodate it.

otherwise, no notes!

alpine static, Monday, 6 March 2023 19:01 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...


There’s no mistaking those individual voices. But the power of boygenius is how something weird, unpredictable, and slightly dangerous happens when these three musical minds meld. All over The Record, they prove they’re a band that can do it all, hitting peaks together that can’t be reached any other way.

All over The Record, they keep recombining their individual styles into a different kind of chemistry for each song. That’s why they transcend any kind of “supergroup” cliché. After all, supergroups are a dime a dozen compared to actual great bands. And boygenius leave no doubt about where they stand.”

supergroups are a dime a dozen compared to actual great bands?

not sure i buy that.

alpine static, Tuesday, 28 March 2023 22:56 (two months ago) link

Depends what you mean by "supergroup" I suppose. Just this week I learned of the existence of the Winery Dogs, who are allegedly a "supergroup" because they include a guy who used to be in Dream Theater and a guy who was briefly in both Poison and Mr. Big.

But I get what he's saying, rhetorical excess aside. boygenius feels like a band.

i agree with that. maybe i am too generous with the word "great," also

alpine static, Wednesday, 29 March 2023 00:10 (two months ago) link

Is that Rob S’s review tipsy is referring to?

It’s Only Her Factory, Girl! (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 29 March 2023 00:21 (two months ago) link


nice piece on Stereogum too, if you can wade thru the ads.

assert (matttkkkk), Wednesday, 29 March 2023 03:17 (two months ago) link

Something about the way Sheffield leans into his enthusiasms so credulously makes me reflexively suspicious, but in this case I really want to believe.

I like that he picks up the switch up to the arrangement for the second verse of “Not Strong Enough”, though I had assumed it was intended to be a reference to The Cure rather than New Order.

Tim F, Wednesday, 29 March 2023 21:25 (two months ago) link

I'd be more skeptical if we weren't already four songs to the good. Sometimes you just have those albums where everyone is like, yup. Looking forward to finding out.

My good people

Tim F, Thursday, 30 March 2023 21:05 (two months ago) link

This album

Tim F, Thursday, 30 March 2023 21:05 (two months ago) link

I keep checking a certain site for a download.

I ordered the album this morning.

the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 30 March 2023 21:16 (two months ago) link

it's good but i'm not blown away or anything, which is how i generally feel about their solo work

ufo, Friday, 31 March 2023 05:34 (two months ago) link

I'll have to listen to this later in the morning after I get some sleep - I could barely stay awake through the quiet ones that loaded up the back half and it sounded like there were some beautiful sentiments expressed in those lyrics - but I really liked a big chunk of this, particularly the more uptempo numbers like "Satanist," which may be my favorite track.

birdistheword, Friday, 31 March 2023 06:25 (two months ago) link

"You think you're a good person cuz you won't punch me in the stomach."

the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 31 March 2023 12:02 (two months ago) link

god, “satanist”

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Friday, 31 March 2023 12:56 (two months ago) link

i am so hyped for the next julien baker record

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Friday, 31 March 2023 13:00 (two months ago) link

*listens to “satanist” on repeat* the core, the heart music… desaparecidos… pedro the lion

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Friday, 31 March 2023 13:17 (two months ago) link

Oh god, 'Letter to an Old Poet'.

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 31 March 2023 17:30 (two months ago) link

"Satanist" is like "Some Kinda Love": every line startles me.

the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 31 March 2023 17:43 (two months ago) link

I'm enjoying the production much more - much fuller and more nuanced. I've got what I assume is a shitty vinyl pressing of the EP, but even with that the production always sounded thin to me.

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 31 March 2023 19:19 (two months ago) link

i'm very slightly disappointed in the album as I don't think any song on it is as strong as Me and My Dog or Stay Down, but I've only listened to it under non ideal circumstances

I? not I! He! He! HIM! (akm), Sunday, 2 April 2023 03:54 (two months ago) link

this sounded nice on the first real spring day of the year. most bridges-related works have one spectacular song and then a bunch of solid ones, and on this one it's "satanist." tho i do still really like "not strong enough"

ludicrously capacious bag (voodoo chili), Sunday, 2 April 2023 14:46 (two months ago) link

The only song I dislike is "We're in Love."

the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 2 April 2023 14:47 (two months ago) link

"Letter to an Old Poet" holy shit

alpine static, Monday, 3 April 2023 22:33 (two months ago) link

I feel like this is about as strong as the EP rather than noticeably stronger or weaker.

A key difference, which Carl Wilson's review picks up on, is that Baker and Dacus offer much happier songs than they were writing circa five years ago. I experience this almost with visceral relief in the case of Baker given how relentlessly self-critical Little Oblivions was (albeit often very amusingly so). But I wonder if some people will come away from this album missing the emotional intensity that is generated by these artists' past tendency to return to the well of their own darkness. In particular Dacus' campfire ballads here, while not a new style for her, basically inhabit one end of her stylistic spectrum.

(Bridgers performing "Letter to an Old Poet" which is practically a do-over of "Me and My Dog", could almost be meta-commentary on struggling to move on from where she was 5 years ago, or appearing to struggle, but wanting to - especially given it arrives at the very end)

Tim F, Tuesday, 4 April 2023 01:58 (two months ago) link

Dacus is such a good lyricist.

the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 4 April 2023 02:05 (two months ago) link

"Cool About It" is such a condensed encapsulation of their various lyrical styles and performative characters, I can't think of lines more typical of Baker, Dacus and Bridgers respectively than "Wishing you were kind enough to be cruel about it", "I came prepared for absolution if you would only ask / so I take some offense when you say 'no regrets'", and "Once I took your medication just to know what it was like / and now I have to act like I can't read your mind".

Tim F, Tuesday, 4 April 2023 02:23 (two months ago) link

This is good and looking forward to repeat listens.

Bee OK, Wednesday, 5 April 2023 02:17 (two months ago) link

Coincidentally, that’s what Taylor Swift advising doing today (via IG Stories) – play it on repeat (that’s quite an endorsement)!

hypnic jerk (morrisp), Wednesday, 5 April 2023 02:33 (two months ago) link

is 'Satanist' the best song ever?

Nourry, Thursday, 6 April 2023 08:18 (one month ago) link

Absolutely loving Satanist here too.

True Blue is my other personal standout on first few listens.

brain (krakow), Saturday, 8 April 2023 18:33 (one month ago) link

True blue is fantastic and the album is good but I’m not too sure about most of the acoustic tracks (except cool about it).

AlXTC from Paris, Saturday, 8 April 2023 18:42 (one month ago) link

I had to give myself time to adequately absorb the tracks I didn't know from prerelease, and basically I think it's a really good album that's a few songs short of great. I agree that a few of the folkier tracks don't register very strongly —– "Revolution" and "We're in Love" in particular — and I like them best with a bit of a beat behind them. That said, "Emily I'm Sorry" is one of my favorite Bridgers songs period, solo or otherwise, and the other pre-release tracks plus "Satanist," "Anti-Curse," and "Cool About It" are all top-notch.

"Cool About It" is such a condensed encapsulation of their various lyrical styles and performative characters, I can't think of lines more typical of Baker, Dacus and Bridgers respectively than "Wishing you were kind enough to be cruel about it", "I came prepared for absolution if you would only ask / so I take some offense when you say 'no regrets'", and "Once I took your medication just to know what it was like / and now I have to act like I can't read your mind".

superbly otm, my favorite song here

corrs unplugged, Tuesday, 11 April 2023 09:08 (one month ago) link

Put another way, the things that each needs to let go of in order to move on are very much in character and carefully (though not obviously so) counterposed: Baker needs to let go of her idealisation of her ex’s goodness; Dacus, her desire for fair determination as to where blame lies; Bridgers, her over-identification with her ex’s flaws.

Tim F, Tuesday, 11 April 2023 10:07 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

did we ever figure out who all's in the band? Jay Som on the left here, I believe (correct me if wrong) ... the person next to the drummer looks very familiar but I can't quite place them:

alpine static, Tuesday, 25 April 2023 19:12 (one month ago) link

very confusingly they have two bassists in that performance?

the live band there is apparently jay som on bass, madden klass on drums, sarah goldstone (she plays with dacus) on keys, and tiana ohara on bass. one of the bassists moves around instruments i think for other songs?

ufo, Tuesday, 25 April 2023 23:22 (one month ago) link

Am very much here for the extended version of 'True Blue' that will inevitably appear.

Stars of the Lidl (Chinaski), Sunday, 7 May 2023 21:36 (four weeks ago) link

Nice acoustic version of Not Strong Enough from one of the Taylor Swift Nashville shows.

They're playing here this summer at some weird festival that both cost hundreds of dollars and also sold out but at the same time seems like it's on the cusp of being cancelled (literally) for permitting issues.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 10 May 2023 12:13 (three weeks ago) link

Re:Set festival? that's their own thing too I believe, as in, they are principal organizers. Three day thing, luckily youu could get single day tickets (which I did for Palo Alto; still a bit expensive considering I don't care at all about the other people playing the same day as them)

I? not I! He! He! HIM! (akm), Wednesday, 10 May 2023 15:10 (three weeks ago) link

If I understand correctly, here in Chicago they put tickets on sale before they had the requisite permits, and the permit issue still hasn't been resolved.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 10 May 2023 15:40 (three weeks ago) link

Also, aiui, the neighbors reallllllly don't want it. They just submitted another petition to have it blocked. Apparently largely the same group that has been working to chase festivals out of Douglass Park, they successfully stopped two other festivals at Douglass (Lyrical Lemonade, Heatwave).

If they sold tickets prior to permits, I'm sure that doesn't help their case much either. Doesn't look good with it less than two months away.

Maxmillion D. Boosted (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 10 May 2023 15:56 (three weeks ago) link

Yeah, a lot of neighborhoods are sick of their parks and outdoor spaces being commandeered for the summer.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 10 May 2023 15:57 (three weeks ago) link

Which I can kind of understand, I think people got sick of seeing Grant Park blocked off for almost half of the good weather portion of the year between Lolla, the marathon, private events, etc etc and it's spreading out to other parks. It seems less about the event itself, but how they lose park access for 2+ weeks on either side of the festival as well. As much as I like seeing more festivals that aren't the Lolla behemoth pop up, I get the annoyance of prolonged park closures during our precious good weather months.

Maxmillion D. Boosted (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 10 May 2023 16:01 (three weeks ago) link

Yeah, like this stupid urban NASCAR boondoggle.

Every week a park is shut down, that's another week people can't have picnics, graduations, sports, family reunions, just quiet time to themselves.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 10 May 2023 16:14 (three weeks ago) link

I totally understand that, though I did enjoy Pitchfork at Union Park last year. But I feel like that's a tension a lot of places, people using cities as playgrounds and playgrounds as party zones. Maintaining public access to public places is pretty crucial.

enjoyable acoustic version of Not Strong Enough up there, but i hope when i see them we get a full band rock version.

my song of the year so far, probably.

alpine static, Wednesday, 10 May 2023 19:34 (three weeks ago) link

Simon Pegg just picked 'Salt In The Wound' as his final track on Desert Island Discs, which was surprising and great to hear. They've definitely made it now.

brain (krakow), Sunday, 14 May 2023 11:32 (three weeks ago) link

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