I’ll be the first to admit music is not my strong suit. Of course, I did master the violin by age three, wrote my first opera at four, and was performing Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen as a soloist with the Vienna Philharmonic in kindergarten—but those were the simpler days of my youth. Now I’m nine years old and building experimental AI military technology at MIT, and (sigh) most days it feels as if I’m the only kid in the world attempting to harness fusion power for long-range precision drones.
Nonetheless, I keep an eye on various r/genius message boards on the off chance they might one day discover another one out there, another person with a mind of such beautiful and terrifying immensity, another child like me, and I might finally have someone to play with (or destroy). Instead, I have been alerted to the existence of some sort of indie rock trio, apparently quite popular, calling themselves boygenius [sic].
You’ve got to be kidding me. Boy genius? These are the words you overhear in frightened whispers to your parents when you’re a toddler using the refrigerator magnets to do chaos math. It simply does not make logical sense as a band name for three depressed women who have matching tattoos of a tooth.
I listened to their album—by which I mean I ran the lyrics through a vector quantization algorithm—and the gist appears to be “contemplating the bravery in allowing oneself to be truly known” and “having a dog.” Ha! Clearly, these so-called boy geniuses could never understand what it’s like to be me. I highly doubt musicians Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, or Lucy Dacus have, like me, solved the quantum God Equation and now can’t sleep at night due to existential dread about the heat death of the universe (well, that and some general anxiety about what happens during puberty).
Sorry, boygenius, but we can’t all be effortlessly cool best friends sharing the cover of Rolling Stone. Some of us are busy repairing the hole that was ripped in the fabric of time when scientists switched on the large hadron collider at CERN… and have never had a real best friend before.
It’s true, mine is a lonely existence. And come to think of it, these melancholy yet tender boygenius songs perfectly encapsulate the intangible sense of longing I experience whenever I observe other neighborhood children through the periscope in my underground lab. Perhaps there is more to music than an algorithm. The Pentagon classified my brain as a weapon of mass destruction, so I feel a pang of recognition when Lucy sings, “When you cut a hole into my skull / do you hate what you see / like I do?” Fine! I confess. I would love nothing more than to see “the boys” live on tour this summer, but alas, even with the fans-only online presale code I’m still getting hit with hidden service fees. Apparently, even literal geniuses can’t outsmart Ticketmaster.