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Boygenius’ new EP ‘the rest’ takes the boyband back to their roots

Boygenius EP the rest was released on October 13th, 2023, containing four gut wrenching tracks.
Interscope Records
Boygenius’ EP “the rest” was released on October 13th, 2023, containing four gut wrenching tracks.

Tears were shed when Boygenius unexpectedly dropped their EP “the rest” on October 18th 2023.
Boygenius, the band named to poke fun at the egotistical boy bands of the 1990’s, has exploded over the past year in the wake of their 5-year hiatus with their first albumthe record.” The band is composed of the singers Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus and amassed over four million Spotify listeners last month, even receiving a shout-out at the season premiere of Saturday Night Live.
Their new EP “the rest” echoes a bookend to a truly iconic era as the band wraps up their world tour in the coming weeks. The eerie album cover accurately represents the melancholy of its four new songs: “Black Hole,” “Afraid of Heights,” “Voyager” and “Powers.”

Black Hole

The album opens with “Black Hole,” referencing the opening line to their song “Not Strong Enough” from their “the record.”
“You can see the stars/The ones the headlines said this morning/Were being’ spat out by what we thought/Was just destroyin’ everything for good,” Baker sings to open the song, referencing a newly discovered black hole that, instead of destroying stars, produces new ones.
This aberrant look at something normally seen as destructive creates imagery that is becoming almost a Boygenius trademark and is similar to Dacus’ lyrics in their song “Leonard Cohen;” “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
The boy’s harmony in the second verse contrasts with the ominous piano that is playing in the background, creating a ghostly sound to contrast the gut-wrenching lyrics of the track.

Afraid of Heights

Dacus takes the reins for the next track “Afraid of Heights” with the sound of an acoustic guitar, reminiscent of her solo music.
The track details Dacus’ fear of danger and heights in stark contrast to the person with whom she is singing.
Dacus sings, “I never rode a motorcycle/I’ve never smoked a cigarette/I wanna live a vibrant life/But I wanna die a boring death/I know I was a disappointment/Know you wanted me to take a risk/Not everybody gets the chance to live/A life that isn’t dangerous,” creating a perfect bridge which single handedly made the song the best on the EP without competition.

Voyager

The third track “Voyager,” with lead vocals primarily by Bridgers, details the pain of loving a partner more than that partner loves them.
“I used to believe no one could love you as I do,” sings Bridgers, “And I’m startin’ to think that it might be impossible not to.”
While the track isn’t necessarily bad, it is outshined and overlooked in comparison to the other three tracks on the album. Online discourse suggests that maybe the track was originally intended for Bridgers’ sophomore album “Punisher.” Considering that it was co-written by the writers ofPunisher,” Conor Oberst and Christian Lee Hutson, it would make complete sense considering that the song could have easily been thrown into that album cohesively. However, because of the obvious tone difference of this song, in many ways, it sticks out like a sore thumb on this EP.

Powers

The EP closes with the song “Powers,” led by Julien Baker, which will quite literally rip listeners’ hearts out and serve it to them on a plate.
The track details trying to find self-identity and the feeling of never really fitting in. Baker spends the song wondering where her “powers” have come from and what they are for.
“Thrust into being’, careenin’ along/On a crooked little trajectory/Dissolvin’ in movement, a body in orbit/Or a roach on his way to the gutter,” summarizes the feeling of existence in a way only Boygenius can.
The song which wrestles with Baker’s search for meaning with lyrics like “Life flashin’ before the eye of whatever comes after,” that also leave the listener grappling with their life’s meaning.

Although “the rest” is only four tracks long, it flawlessly encapsulates the brilliance of Boygenius and how their styles mix and push against each other creating a unique sound. While a few tracks leave more to be desired, the EP is nothing more than authentic Boygenius.

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About the Contributor
Josie Morrow, Views/Entertainment Section Editor
Josie Morrow (she/her) is a senior at Hayes. It is her second year on staff. She is involved in the Ohio Youth and Government Program as the 2024 Media Editor-in-Chief and she co-founded the Hayes Period Project. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spoiling her cat, listening to Taylor Swift, and drinking coffee.
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    Dylan CraftDec 4, 2023 at 8:47 am

    Very well written! I never even knew Black Hole was about a real phenomenon. My favorites off the EP are Black Hole and Afraid of Heights, Boygenius’ vocal harmonies are pure magic.

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