When We Thought There Were No Tears Left to Cry, boygenius Brings “the rest” 

Album cover credit to Genius.

The boys are back. 

Although they weren’t an overnight success, boygenius has certainly shaken up the music scene, changing how music can evoke emotion within the audience. It’s typical to be surrounded by an atmosphere of crying girls at their concerts. boygenius are experts at creating beauty and admiration within some of the most melancholy songs you’ll ever hear. 

Lyrical geniuses Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus joined forces in 2018, creating their all-female band titled boygenius. From friends — to becoming a band — to selling out Madison Square Garden, the past five years have been nothing but ordinary for the three alternative/indie artists. 

Scan to listen on Spotify.

In 2018, the trio released their first EP self-titled “boygenius” consisting of six tracks. The EP gained popularity but wasn’t career-transforming for the group until March of 2023. 

After a five-year hiatus, boygenius brought us “the record.” The 12-song album is full of lyrical masterpieces exploring ideas of friendship, sexuality, mundane life and failed relationships. The album consists of instrumentals venturing from piano ballads to introspective rock anthems that brought praise from both fans and critics. The album took the number four spot on the Billboard 200 chart; a notable feat considering it was their first full-length album released.

Baker, Bridgers and Dacus spent the summer and early fall touring as a band across America and Europe. But the end is nearing as they close up their tour at the Hollywood Bowl on Oct. 31, 2023. And with the tour ending, so is this chapter of their music. 

On Oct. 13, 2023, the group released “the rest,” a bookend to the full-length album put out six months prior. “the rest” is a four-song EP that serves as the last words of boygenius’ most recent project. The songs put out are the missing pieces to the near-perfect album that is “the record.” 

With the majority of their songs, it can take a few listens to fully grasp the idea that boygenius is trying to communicate to their listeners. The more one listens, the more that is revealed through intrinsic lyrics and sounds. The lyrics boygenius writes are begging to be annotated. 

“Black Hole” starts off the EP softly and slowly, with the song title being a possible reference to the hit “Not Strong Enough” from “the record”: “Black hole opened in the kitchen / every clock’s a different time.” The song begins led by Baker’s nurturing vocals and piano, within the first 40 seconds the tempo picks up through piano and an intense instrumental break hits distributing drums, guitar and the vocals of Dacus and Bridgers singing the second verse. The song is miniature in lyrics but vast in sound, bringing the listener a hopeful experience with the continuous upward climb of volume. Without turning the volume up, the song grows louder and louder.

The second song on the EP titled “Afraid of Heights” is led by Dacus — and if you know anything about Dacus — she has the ability to write lyrics that make the listener feel like it’s being written about themself. The lyrics are full of juxtaposing statements backed up by strong acoustic guitar, “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.” 

The song traverses the ideas of life and death and how much one can do to fully live without dying. The choruses of the song are sung by all three of the bandmates, all singing a different harmony. Each artist has their distinct voice, yet they all come together like their voices were made to accompany each other. 

“Voyager,” is a Bridgers classic, serving melancholy chords and hurtful lyrics. Bridgers starts the song by singing with a gentle guitar and harmonizing humming in the background from Dacus and Baker. The song has no chorus and consists of three verses sung one after the other with not much space in between. The lyrics follow themes from “Afraid of Heights,” by mentioning death but taking a different approach in regard to writing about a past relationship. Written to sound like a reflection of how she used to be and who she is now, Bridgers sings, “And I don’t mean to make it all about me / But I used to believe no one could love you like I do / And I’m startin’ to think that it might be impossible not to.”

Last on the EP is “Powers.” Following a similar key and tempo to the three previous songs, the song is sung mainly by Baker with repeating harmonies from Bridgers and Dacus. Throughout the song, stacked vocals can be heard by the listener sounding almost haunting. The lyrics in “Powers” are much more obscure in relation to the other songs, giving the listener a puzzle to solve on what the true meaning of the song is. Baker’s lyrics are questions asking what made her the way she is: “How did it start? Did I fall into a nuclear reactor? / Crawl out with acid skin or somethin’ worse / A hostile alien ambassador? / Or am I simply another of the universe’s failed experiments?

The EP is a simple ending carrying out the sorrowful feelings sprinkled all throughout “the record.”  “the rest” is incredibly well written and emotional, but lacks the intense head-bouncing rock anthems “the record” had. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful, calm close to the electricity that “the record” brought, leveling listeners out for what’s to come.