The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The boys are (out of) town

boygenius’ graceful exit from superstardom
The+boys+are+%28out+of%29+town
Amanda Riha

After a year of frenzied success that saw boygenius release two stellar bodies of work, earn seven Grammy nominations and recruit a brand-new legion of teenage fans, it seems like the supergroup of every angsty lesbian’s dreams is ready to step out of the spotlight.

At an exclusive acoustic set in Los Angeles on Feb. 1, boygenius — comprised of rising solo indie artists Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker — shared a message with fans: “We’re going away for the foreseeable future.”

“We’re doing like Bilbo Baggins, like sailing into the sunset, like, ‘I don’t know when I’ll be back,’” Baker added. “I’m not dying … but I’m not going away forever.”

“We’re going to sea,” Bridgers and Baker said in unison before joking that they had “spent too much time on a bus together.”

In many ways, the group’s metaphorical sail into the sunset — coming just more than a year after the announcement of their debut album, “the record” — feels like the bittersweet culmination of a cultural moment and an apt way for Dacus, Bridgers and Baker to graciously move on to the next steps in their respective careers.

Maybe that’s my perspective because I never thought I’d get a follow-up to the project that was boygenius’ initial collaboration, a six-song, self-titled EP released in 2018. And then I did.

Not to be all “I knew them before they were big,” but I’ve been a boygenius faithful since I was 17 years old, listening to “Salt in the Wound” on my way to high school. I had just discovered Bridgers’ “Stranger in the Alps” album, her 2017 solo debut. Wrapped in by Bridgers’ songwriting, I set out to consume all the music she had produced, and met her friends Lucy and Julien along the way.

By the time I discovered the EP — a gut wrenching handful of songs by three long-time friends — boygenius was already dead. I thought the moment that was boygenius would be a flash in the pan. As “The Boys” went on to solidify themselves as solo artists in the indie music scene (and I continued to follow their every moves) I thought, how cool would it be if they reunited one day?

And then, seemingly out of nowhere, came a Coachella announcement and an album drop at the start of 2023, five years after The Boys’ last collaboration.

“the record” shot boygenius into queer internet superstardom. The group’s matching suits became iconic and their performances — always closing with The Boys screaming into mics, tackling and making out with each other on stage — were bold and unlike anything fans had seen from other musical artists.

I saw boygenius twice in concert during its whirlwind year, and honestly, it felt like a pilgrimage for gay people.

But The Boys didn’t stop with “the record.” Seven months later, the group dropped yet another EP, titled “the rest.” “the rest” was everything The Boys had left to say after “the record,” a collection of four lyrically captivating songs: “Black Hole,” “Afraid of Heights,” “Voyager” and “Powers.”

But above all of their hits, “We’re in Love” took on a new life for fans. In the song from “the record,” Dacus sings about reincarnation and finding those you love in each life.

The lyrics “In the next one, will you find me? / I’ll be the boy with the pink carnation / pinned to my lapel, who looks like hell and asks for help / and if you do, I’ll know it’s you” inspired fans to don the same pink flowers during boygenius shows and present them to Dacus.

That’s why it was so fitting for Dacus, Baker and Bridgers to wear pink carnations on their lapels at the 2024 Grammy Awards on Feb. 4, what could quite possibly be one of their last appearances together as a band for some time. It speaks to what brought these three people together — they would be friends in any life.

And it feels even more appropriate to say that a small indie project created by three friends is now a three-time Grammy winner, with “the record” earning Best Alternative Music Album and the single “Not Strong Enough” taking Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song.

More than anything, the group’s exit from the cultural zeitgeist shows its healthy approach to fame and its refusal to be sucked into the revolving door of relevancy and creating content for content’s sake.

Or, as Bridgers put it on the Grammys red carpet: “It’s been a question since our first week of promoting the album, ‘What are you guys doing next?’ and we’re like, ‘What do you mean? We have a plan to watch ‘Paddington 2.’”

And personally, I’m thankful that I get to see The Boys drift off to sea at the peak of their fame with Grammys in hand, and I’m excited for more solo work — and the inevitable reunion — on the horizon.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Katie Langley, Editor-in-Chief
Amanda Riha, Design Editor

Comments (0)

All The Quinnipiac Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *