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The Student News Site of Rhinebeck High School

Rhinebeck Reality

The Student News Site of Rhinebeck High School

Rhinebeck Reality

boygenius’ the rest Feels Like Reconnecting with an Old Friend


Rain pelts the windows. Thunder and lightning paint the sky. You’re cozy, sitting down, wrapped in a blanket, with a warm drink in your hands. Your headphones disperse rhythmic sound waves to your eardrums. You feel safe and calm. That is the energy that the rest provides. Grammy-nominated trio boygenius’ (consisting of Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, and Julien Baker) second EP, the rest, consists of four intricately written songs that each express different phenomena and feel weightless in the best way. I sit down in my blanket on my couch on a rainy day, and give this composition a listen.

“Black Hole”

The first track on the EP, “Black Hole,” was inspired by a post from NASA, of all things. It describes fleeting moments and thoughts coming from all different directions. From sitting on a porch in a rainstorm and watching the stars to hoping someone in your life will have a safe flight (despite it being “out of [their] hands”), the flitting lines are reminiscent of a black hole, and the universe in general, with its many ideas which we are only able to catch glimpses of. It is accompanied by a beautiful instrumental built on guitar, bass, and drums, and is the perfect song to rest your eyes to at the end of a long day.

NASA, ESA, Leah Hustak (STScI); NASA, ESA, Pieter van Dokkum (Yale); Image Processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI)

“Afraid of Heights”

Moving from pondering in and around the universe, have you ever had a friend call you chicken for not completing a dare? Well, that’s the phenomenon Dacus describes in “Afraid of Heights,” the second track on the rest. The guitar-based song chronicles finding a way around a risk-taker who is desperately trying to prove their points as a reserved and concerned person in their life. The direct and relatable lyrics give a fresh perspective to the idea of being a “coward,” and allow the listener to step into this perspective for the first time or revisit that, all to the soothing instrumentals. As someone who has been considered a “coward” a few times in my life, hearing this song was so unique for me. I’ve heard a few songs talking about being the one who chooses not to partake in the semi-dangerous activities everyone around you is doing (such as “Too Precious” by Em Beihold, another brilliant artist), but never have I felt so heard by a song. boygenius is able to take a situation and go many layers deeper than the surface, and it leads to an enriching listening experience and deep reflection.


The third track on the EP is “Voyager.” Beginning with eerie humming, “Voyager” has a softer approach than the other three songs. It describes the heartbreak, confusion, and regret associated with the aftermath of a relationship, romantic or otherwise. While similar to “Afraid of Heights” in terms of reflecting on a relationship, its differences in tone and emphasis are apparent, and provide a completely different feel. It makes many references to the Voyager 1 space mission, including a reference to the Pale Blue Dot, a picture of Earth which was photographed by the probe in 1990. The short song feels isolated and reassuring all at once, like a bucket of cold water dumped on your head during a heat wave, and the honesty and sincerity in Bridgers’ voice just adds to this phenomenon.

(screenshot of a short clip of their lyric video on loop in Spotify)


The fourth and final track, “Powers,” asks why the narrator has ended up the way they are. Did they fall into a nuclear reactor? Are they one of the universe’s “failed experiments?” While you may believe these possibilities lead to a negative, you’d be incorrect; the narrator is simply wondering how they got their powers. That is the beauty of this song. It takes what could be negatives and views them as superpowers, a globally-accepted asset and positive. With inspired references to well-known milestones of popular culture such as the Large Hadron Collider (“there’s no object to be seen in the supercollider”) and Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis (“or a roach on his way to the gutter”), this song takes the past and uses it to create something new and beautiful, just like the phenomenon the narrator is describing did for them.


I cried while listening to the rest for the first time, laughed, and then cried some more. I felt seen, and while not everything they described has happened to me, I was able to empathize with their/the narrator’s experiences through their brilliant storytelling, musically and lyrically. All four tracks include references to their other songs as a trio and as individual artists, projecting a united and equal front that can be found throughout all of their work. I have played this EP on repeat for the past few weeks, its atmospheric energy making the perfect music to be in the fore-front or background of my mind, constantly comforting. The boys, as they refer to themselves, did an awe-inspiring job of tying all they’ve worked on for the past five years together into this beautiful bow, wrapped around a present we have the privilege to unwrap over and over again.

The thumbnail for boygenius’ “Voyager” lyric video, featuring a hug between the three singers
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