The first song to be released from Love You To Death, this swirling synth tune about a love triangle was premiered on Beats 1 on April 7, 2016.
Sara Quin explained the track's meaning to Beats 1 host Matt Wilkinson: "It's a pretty straightforward pop song about a relationship that I was getting into with a girl who had never dated a girl before," she said. "She had a guy that she was sort of seeing, and we used to joke around that she was treating me like her boyfriend, and I was trying to get her to sort of, you know, tie it down. I wanted her to make it official with me."
"And I think that's pretty relatable," Quin continued. "Obviously, being gay, there's sort of a bit of a gender twist in the song, and I get that that sometimes doesn't seem immediately relatable to everybody, whether they're straight or whatever."
"But this idea, you know, that we've all been in that situation where we really like someone and we want to make it official, and they're not ready, that's what the song is about," she concluded.
Sara Quin admitted to Time she originally had reservations about releasing the song out of fear it could alienate their straight fans. Ultimately, though, she and her sister decided the message was universal enough for anyone. "I've had a lot of nervousness with 'Boyfriend' as a single, because I hate the idea that it's only for gay people," Quin said. "But I also think it's the most digestible, accessible, conventional part of any relationship: the insecurity that every person has where you just want someone to stand up and declare that they're with you. We all go through that. I was singing about who had yet to declare that she wanted to be in a relationship with me exclusively."
The song was produced by Greg Kurstin, whose credits also include Sia and Adele. Without his help, this song probably wouldn't have made the album. Sara Quin told Rolling Stone: "When I brought that one in, I thought it would be scrapped. When he stripped back the demo, I realized it had a really strong arrangement and a strong melody, and the lyrics were great. Like, holy s--t – this could be a single. It might have been on the cutting block otherwise."