boygenius – ‘$20’, ‘Emily I’m Sorry’ & ‘True Blue’ singles review: promising a lot through their quality and diversity

Very slay

This album will be my Joker.

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It’s a big week for Sapphics with the announcement of an upcoming debut LP, the record, from boygenius – the supergroup consisting of Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, and Phoebe Bridgers – following their self-titled EP, and the accompanying release of the first three singles from the album.

The three tracks – $20, True Blue, and Emily I’m Sorry – closely resemble their respective writers, who wrote the tracks independently. Despite only being out for a week or so, I’ve already periodically claimed each track as my favourite. The singles start with Baker’s angsty vocals, with soft-punk guitar riffs and drums in $20. This track is hard-hitting and upbeat, with an interesting set of lyrics, singing of Reno road trips and youthful chaos (“In another life we were arsonists”, “So many hills to die on”). The song ends with all three vocalists singing, one of Bridger’s iconic belting lines evocative of the end of the trio’s 2018 album track Me & My Dog, creating a sublime synthesis of the artists’ different styles in a frenzied release of emotion. 

Emily I’m Sorry is immediately recognisable as a Punisher-esque mellow outpouring to (probably) Emily Bannon, who Bridgers was in a relationship with back in 2018-19. The style is also similar to Bridgers’ 2020 track Chinese Satellite. Lyrically, Bridgers expresses uncertainty about their relationship and repeatedly proclaims the track title in the chorus: “Emily, I’m sorry”, and “I can feel myself becoming / Someone only you could want”. To me, this track is heartwrenching and relatable, exploring the hurt that comes with messing up.

When I first listened to the last track, True Blue, I thought the song was sad, (“You’ve never done me wrong, except for that one time / That we don’t talk about / Because it doesn’t matter anymore”, “You already hurt my feelings three times / In the way only you could”), but upon listening more carefully, I realised that the song is actually very touching. It describes a love that is “tried and true blue”, and the sensation of being known better than you know yourself (“It feels good to be known so well”). The track is a heartwarming end to the album teaser, and, like its sister tracks, is reminiscent of its writer, Dacus. 

Overall, these tracks promise a lot in terms of quality and diversity for the album, and, as will be the case with all boygenius fans, I can’t wait to hear the full tracklist.

The first three singles from boygenius’ upcoming debut album are out now via Interscope, check out $20 here:



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