I wasn’t going to write this but it is gnawing at me.

First off, I have never seen so many Best Of lists in my life, seriously. Everyone has a Best Of fucking list. Hell, even I had a Best Of list, which I don’t think I will do anymore. I am just mentioning songs that move me, songs I like, songs that will continue on in the future. My favorites of last year, Mac DeMarco’s “On the Level” and Strand of Oak’s “Radio Kids,” don’t even get played in my house or on my phone anymore. Personally, I think there are too many bands out there, with a whole slew pile of mediocre music drowning out the the talented and unique.

Unlike nearly everyone who pays even a little bit of attention to current music, I’m not a fan of Kacey Musgraves. “High Horse” has the vibe of a children’s song. Same with “Butterflies” and “Rainbow”. How is there not a song called “Unicorns”? Then there’s lyrics like “You know the bar down the street don’t close for an hour / We should take a walk and look at all the flowers”. Come on.

And this Mitzki…dear God… “I am soooo lonely I look out the window” — whatever — I can’t even bother looking up the lyrics. A friend of mine went to 2018’s NON-COMMvention and it was all about Mitzi. Lots of dollars are being funneled into her.  This is just record people telling you what to listen to and what stations SHOULD play. Amanda Shires too. Industry plants. I will get to that later.

Now, on to supergroups, or in this case a “supergroup” of gentrification angels barely into their 20s plucking at a guitar and leaning in super close on the mic. In other words, this is not a goddamn fucking supergroup. My definition of supergroup is, well, something like Blind Faith. Musicians who have put in the time and who have made a name for themselves, solo or with monster groups. Lyrical geniuses. Guitar shredders. NAMES.

Allow me to give a few more examples:

The Traveling Wilburys, with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbifuckingson — CHECK.

Monsters of Folk: Jim James, Conor Oberst, M. Ward, plus an ironic band name — CHECK.

Case/Lang/Veirs with Case, Lang, and Veirs — CHECK.

The ever-evolving Gorillaz — CHECK.

Even Fistful of Mercy with Joseph Arthur, Dhani Harrison, and Ben Harper, and Glorietta with Matthew Logan Vasquez, Noah Gunderson, and a bunch more — sure, CHECK!

But Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker? Wait, who?

I saw a picture of the one with the platinum blonde hair in lacy barely-there leggings holding a canister of coffee. Mmm. Sexy sells, right?  She gabs glibly in nearly every interview about how she fucked Ryan Adams and basically he was her stepping stone. Allegedly the Tousled One likened her to Bob Dylan. The same Bob Dylan who won a Pulitzer Prize in Literature? He really said this? You think he meant it? Or was Ry Ry perhaps just trying to get laid, Phoebe? The one who doesn’t have stringy hair and rocks the no-makeup look, not sure which name is attached to her, said she is getting some gray hairs (at 23) and “that’s cool” — Ah yes, librarian chic has now progressed to geriatric chic. Note that down, recording industry hopefuls!

I researched these girls, and between them they have less than 50 released songs, five albums total. Nobody had ever heard of 2 of them until this year. The other one I turn off all the time because her songs are just so thin. They have to come from money, right? I mean, they are barely into their 20s and they haven’t really done much of anything that deserves life experience kudos, let alone supergroup status. The other girl’s music got accolades, and I can’t even get through one of her songs. Trite and conventional. Even one of the guys on NPR’s Sound Opinions said her efforts were mediocre. I concur. I think I heard one of the better guitar players in the “supergroup” and I turned it off because it was so damn sad.

Yeah, I’m talking about boygenius. You see, they are girls, get it? And they’re called “boygenius”. And their “break out” song is about a dog. Can we get a Unicorn in here too, girls? Do we have the budget for that? Of course we do, because these are industry plants. All three of them. With money being funneled in to make you love them, even if you don’t love them, because people are TELLING YOU to love them. And while Phoebe has been the main boygenius to be called out as such during her “meteoric rise”, it’s actually Dacus that raises the most whispers (from Myspace playlists to a Matador contract in two weeks…that’s really something, Lucy).

Perhaps I’m just jaded. Perhaps I miss the bitter but sweet heartbreak ladies of the 80s. Grinning through the pain. “Girls Just Wanna’ Have Fun”. Sade’s heartbreak songs with their flourishes and affirmations. “Hang Onto Your Love” “We Belong” by Pat Benetar. I like the angry songs of the 90s too, like Liz Phair pretty much calling out every guy she’d ever dated with stinging guitar riffs and lyrics that were designed to slice through even the toughest of male facades.

It seems to me that the girls of boygenius need to fuck a few more people, go to an inner city, mess up, get dirty, crash a car, go to rehab, lose a job, and then tell us about it in a song. What the hell have you done to earn such loneliness?

You can pretend to love them because you’ve been instructed to. You can genuinely love them because you don’t know any better. But don’t bandy around the term “supergroup” when spewing out your content on boygenius. Because if you do, then Ginger Baker just might come around and give you a good wacking with his cane.

 

Tina Romano