Hannah Keziah Agustin is a writer from Manila, the Philippines. She is based in Madison, Wis.
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Boygenius’ Debut Album Is a Searing Ode to Friendship
AT THE CLOSE of the music video for “$20,” all three bandmates of boygenius — the young indie band turned chart-topping supergroup — cut their palms and swear a blood oath to each other. As I watched it for the first time, I couldn’t help but feel drawn toward prayer — is this what love looks like? It is subversive to hold on to the tenderness of friendships in a world rife with violence. But boygenius, consisting of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, refuses to do anything less in their debut full-length album the record — a searing homage to their love for each other. It is nothing short of divine.
Ringing with angst and affection, these songs meld post-grunge guitar riffs with heartfelt existential threads. In “Satanist,” they respond to ruminations in Ecclesiastes 1:2, “Everything is meaningless,” by singing, “If nothing can be known, then stupidity is holy.” By embracing the finitude and vapor of our existence, they, like the Teacher in Ecclesiastes, “[make] peace with [their] inevitable death” (from the song “Anti-Curse”).
Yet, amid all the nihilism, there’s joy. Boygenius’ gushing piano ballad “Letter to an Old Poet” nods to Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, in which the Austrian writer and mystic offers this instruction: “Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance.” Boygenius finds this love in friendship.