Boygenius: “$20” Track Review | Pitchfork

There he was, in the middle of the Coachella billboard, an epiphanic comeback promise: Boygenius. Nearly five years ago, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker announced they would join forces, with a tongue-in-cheek moniker that exalted the male ego and a set of pearly, harmony-rich songs that felt like an indie-rock triumph. It was a feat of logistics: competing obligations gave them just four days to write and record, and since then the three singer-songwriters only seem to be more pressed for time. Each has released and toured with a solo album; Bridgers amounted to great value collaborations with Taylor Swift, SZA and 1975, becoming a record label owner and fodder for the DeuxMoi rumor mill; Baker toured with Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen, sparking speculation of another supergroup. That the trio is now preparing to release their debut album, the recordin March it seems nothing short of a miracle, proof of the storybook truism that no matter how far their paths diverge, the paths always lead back to friendship.

However, the scheduling conflicts are still real, and the songs released today—”$20,” “Emily I’m Sorry” and “True Blue”—were all individually written, so they’re closer to the styles of their main writers than Boygenius. ‘ previous stuff. Bridgers sent out a demo of the icy, watery “Emily I’m Sorry” a week after the 2020 release Punisher, the result sounding like “Chinese Satellite” with more disintegration and decay; “True Blue” has the Dacus seal Home videofrom the time-marked lyrics (“You were born in July 1995”) to the hesitant cadence of the verses.

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Of the three, the “$20” led by Baker represents the greatest synthesis of their powers. Like many of his songs, it’s about a desperate compulsion toward self-destruction: motorcycles, empty wallets, a sleepless drive from Reno. “In another life we ​​were arsonists,” she screams, propelled by a breathy, almost pop-punk guitar riff. In stark contrast to the sweet, unified harmonies on the 2018 EP, Bridgers and Dacus’ choruses rise and recede like the crash of waves; the three artists revolve around each other, embodying various states of resignation and hysteria as the story’s protagonist takes flight. “There’s so much I can take,” Dacus sings. “I know you have $20,” Bridgers insists. The world becomes crazier, the voices more paralyzing; the propane house catches fire. “CAN YOU GIVE ME $20!!!” Bridgers screams at the top of his lungs, breathy and horrible. Then everything goes black. It’s a magnificent theatre: welcome back, child prodigies.

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