The Boys Take GQ (and the world)
Written by Hemma Daddral Edited by Eve Moat
“Our therapist referred to us as girls, and she noticed us simultaneously shrinking. And she said, ‘oh, what would you like to be referred to as?’ And we all said boys,” explains Lucy Dacus of the supergroup Boygenius, leading their speech at GQ’s Men of the Year Awards. Initially formed in 2018, the group consists of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker – their release of the record this year propelled them further into stardom. Since, “the Boys” have embarked on a hugely successful tour and have been honoured by GQ as one of their esteemed cover stars. Let’s dive into a brief history of the band and celebrate the well-deserved accolade that they have consequently received.
GQ’s Men of the Year Awards was filled with stars in this year’s line-up, from Jeremy Allen White to Andrew Scott to Ncuti Gatwa, and Boygenius being another who were honoured. The LGBTQ+ identifying rock band first came together by accident, with their labels signing them up to a triple-headliner tour and an EP soon followed, entitled Boygenius – EP. The three members all had huge hits under their belt, with Bridgers in particular amassing her own cult-like fan base. ‘Motion Sickness’, ‘Scott Street’, and ‘Funeral’ all became mainstream tracks for Bridgers and was even further boosted into the folk-rock scene with her 2020 album Punisher, which received wide critical acclaim. Dacus penned the breakup anthem of all breakup anthems ‘Night Shift’, a seven minute long epic which has stood the test of time. Baker’s 2017 Turn Out the Lights EP also touched fans alike, dealing with themes of relationships, isolation, and mental health issues across ambient guitar soundscapes.
Though Boygenius – EP certainly put the Boys in the spotlight, it was nothing compared to the reception of the record. Shows went from thousands to tens of thousands, and songs such as ‘Cool About It’ and ‘Not Strong Enough’ created internet frenzy and enlisted a whole new audience. Let’s be real, we’ve all heard “once I took your medication to know what it’s like” a million times behind a million TikTok videos on our For You pages. Guitar strums and soft melodies sweep across the record with the three taking turns to stun vocally and instrumentally. The subsequent tour, as forementioned, has seen these songs take massive stages – most notably played to 25,000 people at Gunnersbury Park this summer. Despite the intimacy of the record, the throuple spare no specialities that could be experienced at their smaller shows they were previously accustomed to. Now, the crowd share the intimacies that are detailed in the songs, creating a bond with the artists that they see perform before them. That is one of the many beauties of boygenius: the relatability of the lyrics and personalities of the stars are at the very heart of their craft which makes their fanbase all that more loyal.
To go back to their night being honoured by GQ, the Boys dedicated their speech to the trans community, urging everyone in the room to protect those around them who identify with the community. Dacus continued to explain the collective gratitude they felt for being respected by GQ’s awards ceremony. “We recognise that we’re being celebrated here for showing up masculine, and we’re really lucky to be able to come see you as we are in a light-hearted and playful way. This is so easy for us, and it hasn’t been easy for so many people over history. I just want to shout out all of our trans friends and family and people before us who are taking more risks than we’re taking. Not everyone gets applause for wearing a tie.”
The group have been on an upward trajectory for the entire year, closing 2023 with this honour under their belts and a sophomore album that has received praise from fans, peers and critics the world over.