• Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Boygenius on the 2024 Grammys, ‘The Record,’ the Chicks and the ever-looming question of new music

Boygenius on the 2024 Grammys, ‘The Record,’ the Chicks and the ever-looming question of new music


LOS ANGELES (AP) — At the 2024 Grammy Awards, boygenius — the major label rock band built of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus — is up for six awards, tying the likes of Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish and more.

Those include two major categories: record of the year (for the single “Not Strong Enough”) album of the year (for their debut “The Record” ). If they win either of those, they’d be the first “all-female” group to do so since the Chicks in 2007.

That’s not an ideal designation for a group that refers to themselves as “the boys” — or one that operates completely free from the antiquated conception of “female-fronted” or “women who rock” as a genre description.

But they’re into the “The Chicks to the Boys” lineage, as Baker repeats it.

“Anybody who says ‘female’ is an alien,” says Bridgers. “But also, being forced to say (expletive) like that, it’s true, for one, but it was only a couple of years ago now that that (expletive) who is now being accused of sexual violence said women need to step it up if they want to be nominated,” she says of the history-making opportunity.

Bridgers is referring to former Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, who, in 2018, said women need “to step up,” if they wanted to receive Grammys and then issued an apology. In November 2023, Portnow was sued by a woman who said he drugged and raped her in a New York hotel room in 2018. His representative called the allegations “completely false.”

Baker is quick to add that The Chicks won record of the year for “Not Ready to Make Nice,” a track released after the band took a hiatus following backlash for speaking out against the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. “The world didn’t change around them, they just got a little thumbs up from an institution,” she says.

“Let’s not forget the right invented cancel culture,” jokes Bridgers.

“We’re a PR nightmare,” says Dacus.

In some ways, recognizing a group like boygenius for their talents could reflect an evolving music industry — or not, but there’s no doubt that these nominations celebrate certain women’s talents.

When asked if they view Grammy nominations, and other traditional metrics of success as holding significance, the boys turn it back to each other.

“It means a lot because the project means a lot,” Bridgers says of their nominations. “Being recognized for something we’re really proud of is why it’s cool.”

“We can agree with everyone that likes it,” Dacus jumps in. “Part of what feels good to me is that I didn’t grow up thinking this was possible. So, it feels cool to see the inside of something that I never thought that I would.”

A lot of the conversation surrounding boygenius has centered on their friendship: “The Record,” while critically acclaimed and culturally resonant, was made by its members for one another — to impress each other, and to extend the boundaries of their music-making beyond their individual projects. That other people enjoy it is simply a benefit.

“It’s always a big of a double-edged sword, being recognized by an institution,” Baker adds, “It’s either buying into the values of the music biz or we’re only successful to and for each other. It’s nice to see that it translated on a tangible scale.”

If there is an obvious disconnect between institutional recognition and what people enjoy, Bridgers is first to offer an example: “ Mitski! We’re like, what does it even represent if you’re not representing one of the most listened to artists of our lives in our genre? It’s super weird.”

Maybe there will be more recognition for independent artists like Mitski in the future. But for now, looking back at the success of “The Record,” there’s only one question left to ask. Will there be another boygenius album?

“We know as much as you do, and that’s actually true,” says Bridgers.

“We’ve said that as a lie in past years,” says Dacus.

“It’s true now,” Bridgers finished the thought. “I don’t know. But, but, but….”

“…But I like them,” Dacus adds, looking at her bandmates. “I like these two guys.”



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