Review

By Kelsey Cueva

Making the shift from indie folk singer-songwriter to pop performer is often a rough transition for most artists. You see, when experimenting with sound, singers often run the risk of losing old listeners, being criticized as a “sell-out”, and fading into obscurity as a result. However, this is far from the case with Canadian sisters, Tegan and Sara. While the duo’s music has definitely evolved throughout the years – fourteen years in the making, to be exact ­­– the strides they have made in their musical career prove that it is indeed possible for artists to successfully changeover genres while still remaining true to their identity and artistry.

Building on the experimental electro synth-pop foundation they laid for themselves in 2013’s Heartthrob, the Quin twins continue to embrace their newly established sound, trading in their usual guitars for some hard-hitting beats, smooth synth, and some matter-of-fact harmonies in their eighth studio album, Love You to Death, which came out earlier this month on June 3rd. Sure, new album may not share the same acoustic-coffee-shop-vibe as tracks from previous LPs, such as The Con or Sainthood, but who’s to say that moving into Top 40 territory is necessarily a bad thing?

Despite switching up their sound, Tegan and Sara still stay true to themselves, offering themselves up through their honest and authentic song writing. In the past, the twins’ lyrics left a sense of ambiguity; their older songs about love and relationships were (and still are) undeniably universal, but this is because they would opt to sing about genderless love interests ­– avoiding the specific use of the words “he” or “she”. In Love You to Death, the Canadian twins openly address their sexuality as this time around, they sing specifically about women.

In a recent interview with Buzzfeed, Sara shares how the album’s lead single “Boyfriend”, addresses the messy beginnings of her current relationship, as her girlfriend was still romantically involved with another man when they first met. In the summer smash hit, she belts out “You treat me like your boyfriend / And trust me like a… like a very best friend” before finally offering an ultimatum, “But I don’t want to be your secret anymore.” Meanwhile, the song “BWU” is an ode to gay marriage as the twins sing, “I love you / I don’t need a ring to / Prove that you’re worthy / You’re under my skin.”

The album delves into the darker parts of Tegan and Sara’s sister relationship as well. In ballads like “100x” and “White Knuckles”, the twins refer to the roughest patch in the twins’ relationship – a time of trying to assert their independence, constant fighting, and sibling rivalry. In “White Knuckles”, they croon, “Excuses for the bruises we wear / black and blue now / Breaking each other like / Knuckles in a fight.”

All in all, Tegan and Sara’s transition into the world of mainstream pop music has proved successful, and Love You to Death is simply proof that they’re here to stay. Don’t be fooled by the glitterpop infused tracks – the album’s discography touches on mature subjects from love, to exes, to siblings, to trying to find your identity, and everything else in between. But I think Love You to Death’s synth-pop sugar coating is what makes the album so great, and relatable.

Be sure to check out Tegan and Sara’s music video for “Boyfriend”!



About the Author

CT