Like any great supergroup, Boygenius exists because of the qualities its three members share, but draws its creative spark from the subtle differences between them. The hushed power of Julien Baker’s voice and the pinpoint accuracy of a Lucy Dacus lyric are complementary factors, each one putting the other’s strengths in a new light. Then there’s Boygenius’ third member, Phoebe Bridgers, whose Stranger in the Alps was one of 2017’s finest debuts. Like Dacus and Baker, she’s an incredibly vivid storyteller, someone you’d happily listen to narrating her vacation or her morning coffee. Bridgers particularly excels at the singer part of the singer-songwriter job. On solo stunners like “Motion Sickness” and “Would You Rather,” her voice floats high above the chords, cooling the hurt in her words but somehow making them even sadder. (If you haven’t heard either of those two, go listen right now.)
“Me & My Dog,” released this week as a preview of Boygenius’ upcoming EP, is a hell of a Phoebe Bridgers song. “We had a great day,” she opens, in the most melancholy reading of that sentiment since Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day.” Phoebe Bridgers doesn’t really do great days in her songs, at least not at this stage in her catalog. She does days you miss, days you mourn, days you wish never happened and wish were happening again all at once. Who knows how long ago that sort-of-great day was? Bridgers sings about the breakup in “Me & My Dog” like it could have happened last night or years in the past, just the ghost of an injury long healed. “I’m fine now,” she adds softly. “It doesn’t matter.”
Doesn’t it, though? The song builds up to a refrain where Baker and Dacus join Bridgers in radiant harmony as the band kicks into full alt-rock splendor:
I wanna be emaciated
I wanna hear one song without thinking of you
I wish I was on a spaceship
Just me and my dog and an impossible view
The emotion in that moment is too big for this earth. It’s cosmic, spiralling thousands of miles out into space, and the singers’ three voices shine together in the unknown.