Boygenius’ New EP Rises to New Heights

The Rest, the third release from indie supergroup Boygenius, is an astounding companion piece to their debut album.
The Rest, the third release from indie supergroup Boygenius, is an astounding companion piece to their debut album.
Hadley Norris

On Friday, Oct. 13, indie supergroup Boygenius released The Rest, a four-song EP that proved to be an outstanding companion to their debut album The Record, and a fitting finale to the album cycle. Boygenius, a band consisting of Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, and Phoebe Bridgers, formed in 2018 when they released their eponymous debut EP. Each song on the EP beautifully expands on The Record and the band’s self-titled EP both sonically, and further explores the lyrical lore throughout their discography. 

Black Hole

The opening track on the album begins with a sparse, yet immediately captivating piano note that leads into the first verse sung by Julien Baker. Baker’s hauntingly keening vocals describe the singer stargazing on her back porch, musing on the stars and black holes. 

You can see the stars, the ones/the headlines said this morning/were being spat out by what we thought/was just destroying everything for good”

Following a soaring instrumental break, Baker is joined by Lucy Dacus in the second verse, which talks about a person they know leaving. Throughout the verse, the lyrics set up contrasting imagery, emphasizing the complexity of the speaker’s feelings towards this person and the duality of the person themselves. This relates to the black hole in the first verse, furthering these themes of duality, and the idea that things that are inherently destructive can sometimes be beautiful. 

My thoughts, all noise, fake smile, decoys/Sometimes, I need to hear your voice”

While perhaps the weakest track on the EP, Black Hole is an excellent intro to the remainder of the songs. The central message of the song is something that many reckon with throughout their life: Does the bad matter when it results in something good? It’s a theme that gives the listeners a lot to think about, and the vague lyrics evoke a myriad of possibilities and emotions surrounding the topic. While sparse at times, the production lends itself well to both the song and the overall sound of the EP. Overall, Black Hole provides an excellent indication of what’s to come, even if it itself never quite reaches the same level. 

Afraid of Heights

Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the EP, Afraid of Heights is a Dacus-led song that explores ideas of morality, courage, and fear. Against the backdrop of an acoustic guitar riff and immersive ambient synths, Dacus’ deeply personal and anecdotal writing style absolutely shines.

 A writer first and musician second by her own estimation, Dacus’ talent for creating immersive stories is unmatched. The small, intimate details that she incorporates into her lyrics serve to paint a portrait of flawed, complex people experiencing everything life has to offer. When you listen to her lyrics, you get the sense that you’re reading one of Dacus’ journal entries, making each song all the more heart-wrenching. 

Afraid of Heights begins with a conversation between two people, with the former expressing her fear of heights and the latter encouraging her to climb and jump off a cliff to prove her courage. The narrator declines, much to the chagrin of their partner. The narrator’s hesitance to jump reflects a deeper conflict centered on morality and the discrepancies between seizing the moment and worrying about the future. 

“I don’t want to live forever, but I don’t want to die tonight.”

The chorus describes the narrator’s partner being consumed by “black water,” representing life’s challenges and rigid structure. The second verse further explores this, describing the partner of the narrator’s inclination for the dangerous, referencing fires on construction sites and climbing tall cranes. The narrator comes to understand that their partner’s proclivity for rebellion is spurred by a disdain for the wealthy and the strict morals and structures imposed on them by society. 

“You took a rich man’s dream/And brought it with you on your way down”

The third verse explores the narrator’s desire to live a full life of varied and exciting experiences but finds that it’s inherently at odds with her desire to die peacefully. This internal conflict is represented through the two speakers in the song and their opposing views on living. However, the narrator ultimately finds that the future is unpredictable and that hoping for more in life will only hurt. 

“I want to live a vibrant life, but I want to die a boring death” 

Dacus’ songwriting is simply unmatched. The story she paints and the conflict throughout manage to hit you directly in the heart every time you listen. She deftly and eloquently addresses fear of legacy, and truly living your life in a manner that is simultaneously approachable and absolutely devastating. Each verse contributes to a larger whole until it all comes together in a heartbreakingly somber finale. It’s an excellent showcase of Dacus’ talents and an absolutely beautiful and heart-wrenching meditation on life and love. 

It hurts to hope the future/Will be better than before” 


The atmospheric and solitary Voyager is the penultimate track of The Rest. Led by Bridgers, she softly serenades the listener with a track exploring the isolation and disorientation of a toxic and chaotic relationship. With melancholy lyrics supported by a sweetly hummed melody (courtesy of Baker and Dacus), Voyager both paints a somber story of a codependent relationship (and the subsequent fallout) and expands on lyrical themes throughout the band’s discography. 

The first verse establishes the narrator’s relationship and the juxtaposition between the all-encompassing love she feels for her partner, and the feelings of uncertainty that she experiences when they’re with each other. 

“I used to believe no one could love you like I do/ And I’m starting to think that it might be impossible not to”

The second verse opens with a picture of the two sharing a moment, followed by the line “And sometimes, you let me read your mind.” That line references Bridger’s verse in “Cool About It,” a track off of The Record in which she describes taking her partner’s medication so she could “read [their] mind” and empathize with how they felt. Shortly after, the lyrics begin to expose the recklessness of the narrator’s partner, and the cycles of codependency and sacrifice in their relationship.

You thought I’d never leave and I let you believe you were right”

The final verse sees the narrator alone, feeling as if she were on the moon. She talks about feeling a weight off her shoulders as she walks but experiences regret for how the relationship ended. 

For years, Bridgers has included celestial imagery in her lyrics. In the track Me & My Dog off the band’s debut EP, Bridgers expresses wanting to be on a spaceship, alone with her dog and an “impossible” view. Now, in Voyager, she’s made it to the moon, albeit alone. The speaker experiences peace and detachment from the world around her. However, the final lines suggest that despite the newfound ease of being alone, the narrator’s partner truly captured her heart. The final line, “you took it from me, but I would have given it to you” references Bridger’s solo song Moon Song off of her album, Punisher. In both songs, the narrator describes a love so all-encompassing she would give them the moon if they had asked. The imagery of the moon represents Bridgers herself, saying that she would give her partner all of her, but they always end up taking it from her. 

This song is absolutely heartbreaking. Bridgers’s vocals are excellent, and as she croons into the microphone you feel just as alone and weightless as she does. It’s easy to relate to the feelings of isolation and aimlessness when you’re alone again after tethering yourself so strongly to someone else. The mixed emotions of freedom and mourning when you’re on your own again is such a specific and powerful emotion, and Bridgers captures it perfectly on this track. 


The final track of the EP, led by Baker, utilizes comic book tropes and destructive scientific occurrences to ponder what her purpose is and the search for identity. 

The first verse sees the narrator contemplating where their powers may have come from, such as a nuclear reaction, or a byproduct of an alien encounter. However, she ends up worried she may just be another “failed experiment.” 

The second verse utilizes imagery of quick, intense movement to further illustrate the narrator’s hunt for meaning and how out of control she is. 

The third, and final, verse utilizes intense and grand scientific imagery, such as a burning comet, or a reference to the supercollider to symbolize the intense and transformative nature of the narrator’s experiences. 

Throughout the entire song, the listener is able to go on the same journey as the narrator. If you close your eyes and allow yourself to be swept away by the sweeping instrumentals and dramatic and vivid imagery, you’ll feel as if you were floating through space right next to Baker. 

The lyrics are immensely personal, and brilliantly utilize metaphor to bring the listener along on the narrator’s journey of self-doubt and self-discovery. 

“Just a light in the tunnel and whatever gets scattered/Life flashing before the eye of whatever comes after”

Where Powers truly shines is in its instrumental. The song starts out with a sparse acoustic riff and slowly builds in intensity throughout the verses. By the third verse, it’s a grand, soaring layer of sound that matches the striking and grandiose imagery in the lyrics. Then, it comes back down, finishing on a trumpet solo, then reverting back to a slower riff on the guitar we began with. The trumpet solo allows for reflection on the themes Baker explores throughout the lyrics and centers the song sonically, perhaps representing the narrator finding a direction and purpose. 

All in all, The Rest shines not just as an extension of The Record, but through its own merits. While the songs never quite reach the heights of The Record, both longtime fans and newcomers will find familiarity and enjoyment in the personal lyrics, sweeping metaphors, and simplistic yet lush production. 

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About the Contributors
Mayla Montgomery
Mayla Montgomery, Reporter
Class of 2026
I have always had a passion for writing and telling stories, and I am so excited to be working on press this year! When I’m not writing, I love watching my favorite shows, watching all the horror movies in existence, reading books, listening to music, and spending time with my friends and family.
Hadley Norris
Hadley Norris, Graphics Editor
Class of 2024 I look forward to designing graphics this year, you can always find me in the caption :)

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