As with previous years, we felt it was only right for us to dedicate this first Good Vibes of the new year to take a look back at our favourite album of 2023. Being the optimists that we are, we also wanted to go for something likely to have a big and successful 2024.
Nominated for seven Grammys at this year’s ceremony including Album of the Year, ‘The Record’ by Boygenius looks like it will do exactly that, and with good reason. Quite simply put, it’s an instant classic in contemporary indie rock, but before we share a few more of our thoughts and moments of gushing praise, let’s have a quick history lesson for anyone who might not yet be familiar with “The Boys”.
Boygenius is an indie supergroup consisting of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. Three friends who also happen to be critically acclaimed artists in their own right. Back in 2018 after booking a co-headline tour, they decided to record a single or cover to promote it and perform on stage together. However, something special was obviously brewing and being inundated with ideas they ended up forming a band, writing, recording, and producing an EP in just four days. What started as a “pipe dream” and in-joke between pals, suddenly got very real.
Five years and a few solo albums later, March 2023 brought the release of their long-awaited debut album ‘The Record’, and in our opinion, it’s been worth the wait. Blending each of their unique and idiosyncratic styles into one cohesive mix of indie, folk, and alternative rock, this album feels how an album by a supergroup should. No individual feels more prominent than the others, they each take turns to lead on songs (capably backed by the other two) or just perform as an outright trio.
It's maybe this cohesion that really elevates this album to the next level. The way they harmonise and their voices complement one another’s gives the impression that Boygenius was always destined to become a band… It just fits. All of them are individually talented songwriters and performers, but it really could be the case that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts here.
We also have to give a nod to the lyrical strength of ‘The Record’, it’s poetic and evocative but still manages to stay down to earth and avoid coming across as pretentious. As listeners, we get to see the imagery of their world, and for 42 minutes we’re invited to join the gang, to be one of them. Ultimately, that’s what ‘The Record’ is all about for us. Three friends hanging out, having a great time and doing what they enjoy, purely for the love of it. It’s something we here at Penta can totally relate to… (ok maybe there are more than three of us, but you get the point.) Seriously though, watch the music video for ‘Not Strong Enough’ and you will see exactly what we mean.
You may well have already seen this album pop up on many end-of-year lists for 2023, and that’s for a reason. It is just that good. You are also likely to hear much more of it this year, which is no bad thing. So, if you’ve never listened to ‘The Record’ this is us strongly suggesting that you do so, you can even pop by a Pentalounge where you’ll hear it as part of our Penta Sounds playlist this month. If you have heard it already, this is your sign to give it another spin.