Tegan And Sara - Love You To Death
by Jessikah Hope Stenson
With seven LPs to their names already, Tegan and Sara Quin know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to song-writing. The Canadian duo’s last album Heartthrob was a huge jump from their previous indie vibe to electronic-pop and it didn’t move me. Other than Heartthrob’s singles, I found myself tuning out of the rest of the album and so, when I heard about Love You To Death, I was hoping Tegan and Sara would have solidified their move into this style and created more than a few songs that would appeal to me.
On first listen Love You To Death didn’t rock my world. Pre-released singles Boyfriend and 100x were impressive, but U-Turn was a little average and by Stop Desire I was enjoying what I’d heard, but was equally concerned that this album would have amazing singles, followed by average filler-tracks. My worries were pointless – Love You To Death offers 10 entertaining songs which are all meaningful and sonically cohesive.
The album also links deeply with their personal beliefs. Tegan and Sara are known LGBT activists and this comes across most strongly in their lead single Boyfriend. They sing:
“Call me up like you want your best friend, Turn me on like you want your boyfriend, But I don’t want to be your Secret anymore.”
By bringing this often unheard perspective into mainstream music, Tegan And Sara are doing more than simply opening the world’s eyes, they are producing genuinely good music.
Likewise, the line: “I’m dying to know, is the one you ended up with everything you wanted?” from Dying To Know has been spinning round my brain for days, in part because it’s catchy but also because it’s so prominent. Meanwhile, songs like Stop Desire and BWU, are full of energy, making them the ideal upbeat pop tracks for summer and I can imagine they would be brilliant to experience live. Tegan and Sara layer their voices and harmonise beautifully, the partnership making for their typically interesting vocal patterns.
Later on, the album never falls short of these high standards. White Knuckles never stood out to me in the beginning but the echoed synths that open the track are glorious and it seems to be one of the most emotional tracks on the LP. The vocal melody is noticeably slower and Tegan and Sara’s tones more serious. Following this is one of my favourites, 100x, which from the first few seconds I knew would be a solid single. The slow piano-led song is reminiscent of I Was A Fool (one of the only good tracks that came from Heartthrob) and acts almost as a sequel. The lyrics speak of someone trying to leave a relationship with the other person struggling to understand: “Oh I told you that I, I needed out, and I, I couldn’t stay, couldn’t stay, couldn’t stay here one more day”.
Tegan And Sara have certainly mastered the art of creating unique and addictive choruses, I can only hope they maintain this variety in their future works. But for now, I advise everyone goes and gets themselves a copy of Love You To Death and listen to it, listen to it, and listen to it again.