The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Point/Counterpoint: Which song from the new boygenius EP is the best?

Managing Editor Parker Jones stands by “Powers” as the best song on boygenius’ newest EP “the rest” released on Oct. 13, while Managing Digital Editor Jami Martin-Trainor prefers “Afraid of Heights.”
Gabby Drees
Phoebe Bridgers performs during the fourth day of the Hinterland music festival in Saint Charles, Iowa on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2022.


Although all boygenius songs are cosmically poetic, “Powers” is the definite prizewinner of the band’s newest EP, “the rest.” The fourth and final track of the collection is a science-fiction spin on their devastatingly harmonious sound. “Powers” is sung mainly by Julien Baker and backed by a pleasantly simple acoustic instrumental.

The song contains a plethora of space and technology-related imagery, beginning in the very first verse with visceral rhetorical questions: “How did I start? Did I fall into a nuclear reactor? / Crawl out with acid skin or somethin’ worse / A hostile alien ambassador?” The symbolism here indicates a speaker exploring a painful or perhaps violent origin.

The second verse continues the celestial imagery — “Dissolvin’ in movement, a body in orbit” — and bare vocals, and leads into the final verse where fellow band members Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus join in. While the other songs on the EP are beautiful and lyrically intense in their own right, particularly with sections of “Voyagers,” the final lines of “Powers” struck me more than all the others.

As if serving as a reference to the band’s inception, the trio sings “The force of our impact, the fission / The hum of our contact, the sound of our collisions,” before a heartfelt section of horns and a soft guitar slowly strums the song to a close.

“Powers” ultimately gave me a hopeful feeling, which isn’t rare with boygenius songs, but something about it felt less purely melancholy than others on the EP. As always, it left me wanting more from one of my favorite LGBTQ+ bands.

Afraid of Heights

I live and die by the fact that Lucy Dacus is one of the most talented lyricists of all time. There’s something in the way she and the rest of boygenius piece together words into phrases into the most poetic lines I have ever heard.

Upon listening to the line “I don’t wanna live forever, but I don’t want to die tonight” the morning after the new boygenius EP dropped — because a daunting essay pulled my attention the night of — I was sold on “Afraid of Heights” as my favorite song.

Dacus starts the piece alone, accompanied by a folk-esque guitar strumming in the background. When her bandmates Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers join in for pockets of the song, it’s simply beautiful.

Hearing “Afraid of Heights,” there’s no doubt this trio was made to make music together. Something truly magical happens in the writing room when these three musicians come together, and every song leaves me wanting more.

While the whole song is beautiful, the ending is just devastating. Hearing Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus sing “How it hurts to hope / Oh, it hurts to hope for more / Oh, it hurts to hope the future / Will be better than before” as a college student doing all the preliminary work to prepare for a future that may not pan out in an ideal way — well, it might be the ultimate manifestation of my greatest fears.

Maybe it’s the beautiful songwriting, powerful vocals, or just the fact that this song hits close to home, but “Afraid of Heights” takes the cake for my favorite piece on the new boygenius EP.

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About the Contributors
Jami Martin-Trainor, Managing Digital Editor
Jami Martin-Trainor is a third-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Political Science with a minor in Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies. Prior to her role as the Managing Digital Editor of The Daily Iowan, Jami was the Assistant Digital Editor, a Digital Producer, and an Arts Reporter. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Jami has held internships at KCCI in Des Moines and the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
Parker Jones, Managing Editor
Parker Jones is the Managing Editor at The Daily Iowan. She is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema with a minor in art. Previously, she was an arts editor, an arts reporter, and a digital producer for the DI.
Gabby Drees, Photojournalist/Videographer
Email: [email protected] Gabby Drees is a photo editor and film maker at The Daily Iowan. She is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and political science.