“Cool About It” by boygenius

Interscope Records released “Cool About It” on 31 March 2023 along with the rest of “The Record”, Boygenius’s debut studio album. But to note, the girls debuted this song a few weeks prior at a benefit performance for a nonprofit known as Tibet House US. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for boygenius's Cool About It at Lyrics.org.

Said girls would be the three singers/instrumentalists who make up Boygenius – Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker. And as is their standard, they not only serve as the vocalists on this track of theirs but also its writers and producers. Moreover, they acknowledged that “Cool About It” was inspired by Paul Simon.

The Lyrics

There’s different ways of interpreting certain nuances of this narrative. For instance, it could be that the vocalist and addressee have already broken up, even if they are still hanging out with each other.

But all lyrics and sentiments considered, the more-likely explanation would be that this relationship has already run its course, and both parties involved already know that yet are unable to say it out loud and put the nail in the coffin, so to speak. So it’s as if the vocalist is waiting for the addressee to pull the trigger.

It may be, even though the members of Boygenius go both ways, that the person they’re singing to is a male. Then it would be his manly responsibility, based on mainstream ideologies, to initiate the inevitable breakup as opposed to putting the onus on the female to do so.

Furthermore, as implied in the second verse, this person is somewhat of a prick, for example letting the narrator know that she has not lived up to his expectations. 

With that in mind (that the addressee can be too demanding), then Julien and co. are probably expecting that he’d be willing to breakup, as such behavior is usually indicative of the party committing it not being as interested in the relationship. 

But instead, the opposite appears true. That is to say that just as the vocalist proceeds to engage in small talk while ignoring the elephant in the room, the addressee does the same – such as flat-out lying, under the singer’s estimation – when asked how he’s doing.

Whatever the case may be, whether they’re exes or still dating each other, this relationship has evidently devolved into a less-than-ideal affair. That is to say that the vocalist especially comes off as if she has grown completely disinterested in the addressee. 

And this is something he’s obviously aware of also. But instead of just coming out and saying so, Phoebe and the gang rather opt “to be cool about it”, presumably in the name of sparing the other party’s feelings or avoiding an even more-uncomfortable situation. Or as the conclusive sentiment of this piece implies, the vocalist is allowing the perpetuation of this friendship at the cost of her own inner peace.

“I’m trying to be cool about it
Feelin’ like an absolute fool about it
Wishin’ you were kind enough to be cruel about it
Tellin’ myself I can always do without it
Knowing that it probably isn’t true”

Personal Stories

“I have an amazing 22 year old daughter. ‘Cool About It’ takes me back to her high school days, and I fondly recall the time I spent getting to know her circle of friends during some somewhat supervised house parties and other events. To me, this song and the people who loved it perfectly capture the essence of their generation at that moment. I find it to be authentic and the emotions to be genuine.”

– May

“Going through a breakup is like having a wide-open wound that’s getting salt poured into it, and each lyric in ‘Cool About It’ feels like another tiny grain of salt. ‘I’ll pretend that being with you doesn’t feel like drowning’ is the line that hits hardest because it perfectly captures the sense of suffocation and overwhelm I felt in that relationship.

It’s tough to lose a 12 year old relationship simply because I couldn’t get my neurodivergent brain to fit in the box she wanted it to. It’s way more painful than any romantic breakup I’ve ever experienced. But this song makes me feel less alone in my struggle. It’s a blessing to have these lovely, awesome, and queer women out there making music that speaks to our experiences.”

– The Struggle Is Real

A Necessary Evil?

“The singer is allowing the perpetuation of the relationship even though deep down within her it is causing her so much trouble.

Maintaining peace and harmony in a romantic relationship is indeed important. However, I don’t think it should come at the cost of suppressing your true feelings or ignoring the great discomfort being caused to you.

I personally believe open communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. If there’s something your friend or partner is doing that you don’t like, I believe it is better to express your feelings rather than pretending to be cool with it.

That said, the manner in which you express your discontent with what they are doing matters greatly as it can lead to the destruction of the relationship. You can share your feelings respectfully, without inciting drama.

To me, totally ignoring your feelings to avoid conflict in the relationship is not a good idea. And why? This is because that may provide temporary peace, but at the end of the day, it can lead to resentment, dissatisfaction, and a lack of authenticity in the relationship.

It’s crucial to strike a balance between maintaining peace and expressing your genuine feelings. A partner who respects and values you will appreciate your honesty and work with you to address the issue.”

Kojo Enoch

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    You realize they’re queer singers and identify as a queer band. Best to not assume they are addressing a man — a quick Google search could have solved the misunderstanding

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