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The Suffolk Journal

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The Suffolk Journal

Grace’s Garage: Boygenius delivers delicate but powerful EP, ‘the rest’

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Grace Dreher

Once again, boygenius, a trio composed of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, delivered a collection of beautifully written and intricately produced tracks with their newly released EP “the rest.” 

The trio’s newest collection, released Oct. 13,  features four songs, each complementing the others while also showcasing the band’s remarkable ability to deliver music that features a variety of stylistic choices. 

In “Black Hole,” the first track of the EP, Baker starts off quietly with the first verse, painting an existential portrait with lyrics depicting a dark and starry landscape. 

As the first verse ends, an instrumental portion follows, which culminates in a bolder second verse. Bridgers and Dacus join voices, describing a series of juxtaposing elements. I interpreted the dichotomies as an expression of two opposing ideas being true at the same time, but as with most of the group’s art, the obscurities seem to take on different meanings from listener to listener. 

In the second half of the final verse appears the lyric “it’s out of your hands, but have a safe flight,” one of my favorite lines from “the rest.” The lyricism here brings up our tendency to assert control over the uncontrollable, or perhaps even the shallow nature of telling someone to “be safe” when safety is not always up to us. 

“Afraid of Heights” features vocals primarily from Dacus, who tells the narrative of wanting to be enough for someone whose careless behavior constantly puts her in danger. The song, which she explained at a live acoustic show was written years ago, was one of the first potential songs for “the record.” The track beautifully details feelings of inadequacy in relation to people who “think they’re radical,” in Dacus’ words, but ultimately are reckless.

This second song features another one of my favorite lines from the EP, when Dacus sings “not everybody gets the chance to live a life that isn’t dangerous.” The line represents the theme of the song, but in it the listener can hear a shift,  where self-doubt becomes self-assuredness. 

“Sometimes you let me read your mind,” Bridgers sings in “Voyager,” the third track of the EP, perhaps calling back to the “Cool About it” lyric: “Once I took your medication to know what it’s like, now I have to act like I can’t read your mind” from “the record.” Bridgers’ ingenious ability to make callbacks in music, to continue a theme, comes alive in “Voyager,” not just in her mind-reading proclamations, but also in her mentions of the moon. 

Her celestial references in “Voyager” continue a trend in Bridgers’ lyricism. In the track she sings “walking alone in the city makes me feel like a man on the moon.” The imagery produced in that line is reminiscent of many of her solo lyrics, including those of “Chinese Satellite,” when she sings, “took a tour to see the stars, but they weren’t out tonight.” 

The EP sums up with “Powers,” led by Baker, which opens up with a few lines where Baker wonders how something started. In my interpretation, she’s following up with potential answers to the inquiry that began in “Not Strong Enough,” where the trio sings “I don’t know why I am the way I am.” Others have theorized the lyrics call back to “Happy to be Here,” a song from Baker’s 2017 album “Turn out the Lights.” 

Overall, the EP was a fitting follow-up to the full length LP, released March 31 of this year. The tracks on “the rest” were clearly stylistic standouts from those on “the record,” but fit seamlessly together on the EP. Anything left to be desired by listeners after hearing “the record” was certainly fulfilled by the powerful yet delicate tracks on “the rest.”

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About the Contributor
Grace Dreher, Copy Editor | she/her
Grace is a senior journalism major with a Print/Web concentration from Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey. When she isn’t writing, you can find her exploring Boston or listening to music. Grace is also very passionate about politics and after college she hopes to work as a journalist and travel. Follow Grace on Twitter @egracedreher

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  • K

    Kevin MurphyOct 26, 2023 at 8:47 am

    Good review. There are some lines in the EP that really stick, right? “not everybody gets the chance to live a life that isn’t dangerous.”

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