Shaking the Supergroup Status Quo: Boygenius.
Perhaps the most anticipated album of last month, Boygenius’s debut album - The Record, really does have something for everyone. Heck, even my boyfriend who has never even thought to give Phoebe Bridgers the time of day, has decided to spend a whole €35 on a freshly pressed vinyl hot off the shelfs of the nearest Tower Records. In the past, there were Phoebe Bridgers fans, there were Julian Baker fans, there were Lucy Dracus fans and there were some of these fans that were also Boygenuis fans. It was rare to find a solely Boygenius fan. You either like them as separate musicians and appreciate them together or you just like them as separate musicians and whatever they’re doing together is second rate. It seems there’s been a shift. Now it's perfectly acceptable to just like them together, as a band. Now it seems as if you hear boygenius before you hear Phoebe Bridgers, Julian Baker or Lucy Dracus.
This is the dawn of the Boygenius supergroup, not the ‘side project’. This is better together than separate. It’s the ‘group’ in supergroup. And ‘The Record’ is starting to put the ‘super’ in supergroup.
Before there was Boygenius, there was Mad Season, there was Temple of the Dog, there was Led Zeppelin, there was Cream and there were so many more. Supergroups are not a new phenomenon. And their success is far from being a novelty. From playing stadiums, to playing stadiums worldwide, to playing stadiums worldwide with thousands of screaming fans, it’s hard not to see the appeal of forming such a group. The big supergroups of today’s times, such as the Gorillaz or LSD have similar clout although they wouldn’t be my cup of tea personally (and it’s debatable as to whether Gorillaz is a supergroup indeed because it only has two permanent members). I’d argue that Boygenius is a supergroup that more closely mirrors that of older supergroups, like Cream or Mad season. Why? Good question.
The point of a supergroup is that the group is more successful than any of its artists were on their own. What it means for the group to be ‘more successful’ is less matter of fact. Does it mean more hit singles as a group than as separate artists? Does it mean more recognition from fans or media? Does it mean playing bigger gigs in bigger venues than they would as going solo? Does it mean more fans that know one or two songs (casual fans I call them)? Does it mean more fans that know each song inside out, back to front and head to toe? Does it mean all, some or none of the answers to these questions? I don’t have the answers myself, but I reckon Boygenius falls into some of these categories without a doubt. Categories like ‘more hit singles’ or ‘more recognition’ or ‘bigger gigs’.
There’s more to it than that though. Something I don’t think we’ve considered yet. If you look at any of those utterly revered supergroups that maintain royal and godly status similar to that of Queen Bey herself, each member has a unique commonality in that they’re all from the same ‘scene’. Mad season and Temple of Dogs were all from the 90’s grunge music scene in Seattle and similarly, Cream, Led Zeppelin and the numerous other 70’s supergroups were from the earth-shatteringly huge Rock ‘n Roll expansion from the second half of the 20th century. Is the same true for Boygenius? Perhaps it’s too early to say? Maybe only history will deem that true or convoluted? We can’t really say. But it seems highly probable at least. Their music speaks to a generation of young people who see themselves in their melodies, their lyrics and their strong sense of honest clarity. And for what seems like the first time ever, it’s queer women heading the group at a time when changing the status quo is an active demand. Boygenius are changing the supergroup status quo and with every success their new record will become a staple of that change.
So if you’re wondering whether to give this album a listen and I haven’t convinced you already, this is me telling you to do that. Listen to the album. It’s likely you will find at least one song that you can groove to.