By Amy Hanna
Suggested Tracks: ‘That Girl’, ‘Boyfriend’, ‘BWU’
The essential summer album for those with aching hearts has arrived, and this year it comes from Candian synthpop duo Tegan and Sara. The Quin sisters have returned after their most commercially successful release to date, Heartthrob, which included the infectious single “Closer” that wormed its way into our ears and radio waves all throughout 2013. Love You to Death, Tegan and Sara’s brand new album, is a bit less sugary sweet, yet just as catchy and glittery as ever.
Tegan and Sara’s distinctive shimmery pop packs as much a punch as ever on the first track, “That Girl”. The song pulses and breathes along uniquely off-putting harmony lines, an introduction that is just the right amount of bombastic. Love You to Death weaves through catchy, hooky numbers “Faint of Heart” followed by the album’s lead single, “Boyfriend”. The latter describes a unique yet relevant story of a love triangle between two women and a man. Tegan and Sara have remained honest and unabashed in their lyrics about their sexualities – both sisters identify as gay – and “Boyfriend” offers an infectious, honest admission to fellow gay people in similar situations, which is refreshing and necessary in a still too heternormative pop scene.
This album’s strength, beyond undeniably hooky and polished production, is its honest maturity. Music about heartbreak is so often jaded or melodramatic, yet Tegan and Sara manage to balance beautiful sounds with ache-touched words that are simple, straightforward, but never childish. In a world of tried and true love songs, Tegan and Sara create vivid scenes and emotions that feel new. On the anthemic “BWU”, the Quin sisters sing, “save your first and last dance for me/we don’t need a white wedding” with a vulnerability that made my own breath catch. Listeners get shots of rejection (“Dying to Know”), fear and anxiety (“White Knuckles”), and pained honesty (“100x”) in their purest, most honest forms. Simply, Tegan and Sara write lyrics about universal feeling in a universal way, and have done so better than ever before on Love You to Death.
Love You to Death is as guilelessly honest as it is clever, and as simple as it is skilled. The whole album tackles various shades of heartache, laid upon a bed of trademark Tegan and Sara fun, freeing 80’s-gone-modern soundscapes, and the contrast feels honest and perfect. Tegan and Sara have a magic touch with their lyrical verses and smooth synth sounds, and always manage to make everything tug just the right heartstrings and sparkle in all the right places. Love You to Death is no different, and, with an honest narrative so pure and relatable, may be their most personal and relevant record to date.
Buy Love You to Death on iTunes here, and be sure to catch Tegan and Sara on tour across the US this fall!
By Amy Hanna