Boygenius release new EP “The Rest,” an emotional sequel to their album

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Supergroup Boygenius released their second EP, “The Rest,” on October 13, following their first EP nearly five years earlier. 

The EP features four songs that did not make it onto their first studio album, “The Record,” which was released in March of this year. The songs explore the same themes through a different lens and draw back to elements of their original, self-titled EP.

The members of the group — Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker — share writing credits on both EPs. They welcomed contributions from singer-songwriter Christian Lee Hutson who wrote with them for their first EP and worked with Bridgers’ folk-rock duo, Better Oblivion Center. 

Their sophomore album “The Rest” follows the same flow as “The Record,” opening with a soft, folk song before leading into bolder melodies and ultimately settling down.

“Black Hole,” the first song off the EP, begins with Baker singing a stripped-down verse. She sings of rainstorms and skies so dark you can see the stars. The openness of the instrumental and the vocals give the listener the feeling that they are in the space Baker sings about. The verse tells of beautiful things coming from what others interpret as negative.

Fans gathering around a listening station and Vintage Vinyl. Photo By Emme Goelz

The second song on the record, “Afraid of Heights,” feels much closer to the energy of “True Blue” and “Not Strong Enough” — both songs off “The Record.” “Afraid of Heights” has a slight country element to it, like much of Baker’s solo work. It begins with Dacus regretting telling her partner about her fear of heights, as the partner wants to see how much Dacus is willing to handle. In “Afraid of Heights,” Dacus says that she, “Doesn’t want to live forever, but I don’t want to die tonight.” It expresses a need to be safe, even while wishing not to need it.

The third verse shares the singer’s desire to live an exciting life but not one that will be the death of her. She expresses in many ways that she does not take risks and is okay with that, despite the fact it is cause for disappointment. Dacus sings that she knows she is lucky to not like risk, and not everyone can live a non-dangerous life.

The song ends with the risk-taking partner being hurt and disappointed in her, which leads to an entropy of their relationship. The relationship is ending, both parties can see why, but there is nothing to do about it. It is, in a way, the boring death Dacus asked for.

“Voyager,” the third song from the EP, seems like the emotional sibling to the devastating “Cool About It” and “We’re in Love” off their album. In the first verse, Bridgers sings about her self-centered tendencies, thinking only of her own thoughts, saying that she used to believe she was unique in the way she loved her partner, but now she believes she loves her partner in the most generic way possible.

The second verse elaborates on the distance between the singer and the partner when Bridgers sings that sometimes her partner allows her to read her mind. As if both Bridgers and her partner are pretending to have a closer relationship than they do. She ends the verse by saying that her partner believed she would never leave them, and she allowed them to think that, despite knowing it isn’t true.

The song ends with a line that hammers this point home even further when Bridgers sings “You took it from me, but I would have given it to you.” While the listener does not know what the partner has taken, it is clear that the pair did have a disconnect between the closeness of their relationship and their perception of it.

The final song of the EP, “Powers,” feels like a true meshing of the themes written about by all three members of the group individually. The song sings of a desire to know and be known, a search for a creation myth that is still unclear at the end of the song. They do not even try to provide an answer. As “The Rest” ends, the listener is left with more questions than answers, and yet the ending of the EP leaves the audience with a hopeful lack of control.

This theme is seen in songs like “Faith Healer” and “I Know The End,” by Baker and Bridgers respectively. As is common with their music, the song does not end with an answer. Instead, it ends with unanswered questions sung as statements: an acknowledgment of the unknown.

This EP not only fits thematically with their album but also with each artist individually. It is no secret amongst fans that the boys—as they are lovingly called—are very close and hold much respect for each other, especially when it comes to songwriting. 

The combination of their three individual styles brings a rich and raw aspect to their music, something which in part may be why they have drawn so many fans. The supergroup writes about emotional topics in ways that are enjoyable and approachable, allowing fans to connect in ways they may not usually connect with music. After opening for Taylor Swift earlier this year, releasing their first album and now this EP, the supergroup will be continuing on an upward trajectory.

 

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Sarah Faith Peterson
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