Recommended Tracks: I’ll Be Back Someday, I Know I’m Not the Only One, We Don’t Have Fun When We’re Together Anymore
Artists You May Like: St. Vincent, The Veronicas, Phantogram
Most people like to forget about their high school years. The self-doubt, the heartbreak, the teen angst – all of it is better left in the past. Let’s say, though, that you found a box of old songs that you wrote when you were in high school that touched upon these very feelings. Would you expose those feelings on a nostalgic album? Not many people would, but Tegan and Sara are not like many people…The twin sisters embraced their teenage selves, awkwardness and all, for their ninth studio album, Hey, I’m Just Like You. Even if you thought you were nothing like Tegan and Sara, you will have at least one moment on this album that proves you wrong.
Right away, we are hit with the downhearted pop track, “Hold My Breath Until I Die,” which takes us back to those days when being overdramatic was a natural response to any given situation. The lyrics describe that feeling of beating yourself up over something stupid that you did, or failed to do, and replaying that moment in your mind. The chorus sends us into a trance as we hear, “If I hold my breath until I die, I’ll be alright,” over and over again, set to an alluring melody. It is a unique choice for the first track of the album, but it shows that Tegan and Sara are not messing around when it comes to this project.
A couple of my other favorite bittersweet pop tracks on this album are, “I Don’t Owe You Anything” and “You Go Away and I Don’t Mind.” While these tracks are dejected and spiteful, they have this sense of empowerment, as you can tell by their titles. The harmonies and fun pop elements found in “I Don’t Owe You Anything” give it this innocent charm that help drive the message of the track home. The latter, “You Go Away and I Don’t Mind,” is just as playful, as Tegan and Sara taunt someone with goodbye, but secretly still want and need that person.
While you can hear the teenage angst in the lyrics on most of these tracks, you can really feel it on the track, “I’ll Be Back Someday.” The driving guitar accompaniment, the gritty nuances in the vocals – all of it just works together to create an unapologetic sound that demands to be heard. The lyrics focus on leaving a complicated situation behind, even if you just leave it behind temporarily. We never really know if returning to the situation is supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing in the end, but there is a sense of comfort throughout the track that makes us feel at peace with whatever happens.
The reflective, “Hello, I’m Right Here” and “Please Help Me,” relieve some of the tension and confusion that has been building up throughout the album. The piano accompaniment on “Hello, I’m Right Here,” makes the track dramatic and beautiful, while enhancing the feeling of vulnerability that is brought on by the lyrics. In contrast, “Please Help Me” is a little lighter and warmer. The lyrics are still heavy and emotional, but the acoustic guitar and crisp vocals add some brighter, yellow tones to the picture.
The album comes to a close with the hopeful, “All I Have to Give the World is Me.” While I felt like most of these tracks had a sense of optimism, albeit underlying, this track instills that feeling most clearly. It reminds you that you cannot force yourself to be something that you are not. All that you have to do is be yourself – “and that’s it.”
I commend Tegan and Sara for leaning into their high school selves and sharing all of the insecurities and lessons that they learned during that time of their lives. It can be very hard to revisit some of those memories, but rewarding. Not only can they rest assured knowing that they made it through, but Tegan and Sara can also take pleasure in the fact that these songs are out there, waiting for the right ears to listen.
You can stream Hey, I’m Just Like You on sites like Spotify and Apple Music.