Boygenius on Their Debut Album, Queer Joy, and the Role-Model Paradox

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If you’re a millennial who’s gone through a breakup in the last five years, you likely need no introduction to Boygenius, the supergroup composed of musicians Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus. All three have their own robust careers, but when they come together, it’s like the indie-rock equivalent of putting Nutella and marshmallow fluff on your PB&J; so good that you can’t imagine why you weren’t doing it all along.

Boygenius’s first full-length studio album, aptly titled The Record, was released at midnight on Friday. Ahead of that momentous occasion, Vogue spoke to Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus about preparing to be perceived by the world yet again, working with Kristen Stewart on the album’s accompanying film, and recognizing the impact they have on young fans (especially those who are queer and/or transgender) without succumbing to the pressure to be role models 24/7. Read the full interview below:

Vogue: How are you feeling as you prepare for the album to come out?

Phoebe Bridgers: I mean, it’s going to happen in a couple of hours, so how much more preparing can we do?

Julien Baker: We’re letting go and letting God. [Laughs.]

Bridgers: I think we’re all really ready, though. Like, we recorded it over a year ago, and we started writing it a year and a half before that.

What lessons did you take away from the release of your EP in 2018 that you’re trying to apply now?

Lucy Dacus: I mean, mostly that we want to do it. [Laughs.] I’ve been waiting for this moment for our entire friendship, really, because the EP was not supposed to be the highlight of that tour; the tour was supposed to be a triple-bill thing, and then we turned into a band and were like, We should do this for real. And now we are! It’s crazy.

If there were a sibling dynamic between the EP and The Record, what do you think it would be?

Baker: I think it’s an older-younger brother thing, not because our younger selves were less mature, but in terms of having less resources to bring those younger selves to fruition. The band itself was a baby, in that we were only just becoming a band.
Boygenius, the all-female musical supergroup made up of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, has just released their heavily anticipated debut album and fans are already praising the trio’s dynamic sound. With the release of their self-titled album, Boygenius highlights the importance of knowing when to take risks and breaking barriers within the Indie-Folk scene. The album is filled with songs that steeped in candor and vulnerability, paving the way for a new wave of music that celebrates queer joy.

The blending of the three songwriters’ unique styles have created a flavorful sound of dynamic harmonies backed by powerful riffs. The slow, delicate melodies captivate listeners and offer a soothing antidote to the current turbulent times. Songs like Me & My Dog, Bite The Hand and Stay Down showcase the vulnerability of the trio’s heartfelt lyrics. The group’s introspective reflections on quieting their inner demons is rooted in self-care and a sense of self-acceptance and queer joy.

The females of Boygenius, who are all queer, have become all the more vital in this day and age. As queer people, they are showing their audience a new way of seeing and being in the world through their music. In doing so, they are also pushing the boundaries on what it means to be a role model. They are inspiring people by owning their versatility and dynamism.

However, being a role model can also have its drawbacks. When an artist reaches the status of “role model”, audiences are often expecting to hear a narrative that is perfect and mistake-free – something that Boygenius is not. This is an undue pressure for anyone, especially for artists who are expected to speak up on ‘controversial’ topics, as is seen with Lizzo, for example.

Boygenius has found success in normalizing queer joy and self-care through their music. Their tender reflections have lead the way for more artists to explore their own feelings and experiences in an honest way. The strength in their music highlights how important it is to make space for mistakes and complexity in the dialogue on queerness.

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