The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | boygenius releases emotional EP ‘the rest’

Photo courtesy of Genius
Cover of boygenius

On Oct. 13, boygenius released “the rest,” an extended play that compliments their latest album, “the record.” Spanning four songs, “the rest” speaks of themes encompassing the emotions behind love and the rawness of life.  

boygenius has risen in popularity with praise through the musical teamwork of artists Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker. Debuting their first self-titled EP “boygenius” in 2018, the group has since amassed over four million monthly listeners on Spotify and even gone on a recent nationwide tour.

Much like the rest of the boygenius discography, “the rest” encapsulates the lyricisms and harmonic melodies of each respective artist. Boygenius fans can always locate a song that expresses both their sense of individuality and love for their favorite band member. 

When asked about the latest release, Bridgers told the Recording Academy that “We veered away from our folkier roots on ‘the record’ in a way that was fun to come back for the EP.”

“the rest” is compiled with inspiration from genres like grunge as well as the past solo work of the boygenius artists. When listening to the EP and its layered lyrics, listeners are able to pick out allusions and familiar musical notes to past favorite songs.  

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Black Hole

The EP takes off with the opening track “Black Hole.” The song begins with a singular eerie piano key, only to develop into a blood-pumping, melancholic rhythm much like Bridger’s single “I Know the End.” 

The very title of the song is a reference to the opening lyric of “Not Strong Enough,” featured on “the record.” Baker revisits the notion of the black hole, originally represented as the start of chaos and now sung as a symbol for hope and personal transformation. 

“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,” Baker sings. 

Verse two is then carried on with a harmony of all the singers’ voices, creating the musical mark that is a boygenius staple. 


Afraid of Heights

A seamless transition from “Black Hole” enters a new aura that is taken over by Dacus in “Afraid of Heights.”

This track is filled with Dacus’ signature touch of the acoustic guitar, as well as the addition of the pedal steel, making for a pleasant and brain-stimulating listening experience. 

Dacus sings about a conflict between two people and their disagreeing beliefs on what the purpose of life entails. The song’s narrative is created by the ideas of taking risks and the certainty of death. 

Like the song title, Dacus sings about jumping off a cliff in response to being called a coward by the conflicting character. This tension only intensifies as the song goes on to explore the meaning of mortality and how it prevents us from thoroughly experiencing life. 

“I wanna live a vibrant life/ But I wanna die a boring death,” Dacus sings. “Know you wanted me to take a risk/ Not everybody gets the chance to live/ A life that isn’t dangerous.”

The song explores the vulnerability between both characters and how fear affects the desire to live a fulfilling life. 



The delicate finger-picking of the acoustic and soft background hums immediately paint “Voyager” as a Bridgers special. Bridgers explores the test of love and the aching need to read our partner’s mind. 

Emphasizing a deep romance between two people, Bridgers sings about the insecurity of someone else loving their partner even more. 

“But I used to believe no one could love you like I do,” Bridgers sings. “And I’m startin’ to think that it might be impossible not to.” 

The following verses of the track introduce new challenges to the narrator as their relationship becomes unhealthy and the need to separate intensifies. 

“When you stepped on the gas and you asked if I’ m ready to die,” Bridgers sings. “Every small step I took was so easy, but I never imagined a dot quite as pale or as blue.”

“Voyager” is a story of how much one is willing to sacrifice in order to preserve love. 



The EP closes with “Powers,” a chilling song that is Baker’s track about the journey to discover one’s own identity. 

The title of the song is referenced in the lyrics as the narrator questions where their very own powers have come from. 

“I have never heard the tale of how I got my powers,” Baker sings. 

“Powers” holds a musical tone that intensifies the narrator’s search for meaning. This is heard in the ominous trumpet outro, leaving listeners to unravel the meaning of their very own existence. 


Final thoughts

Despite being a short-length release, “the rest” captures the musical cohesiveness for which boygenius is known. As the band’s discography expands, it continues to demonstrate how its members’ various musical genres can successfully blend together. 

“the rest” is a perfect EP for boygenius fans or anyone who wishes to listen to a heartfelt musical masterpiece. 


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