A few notable things that happened in 2013: “Twerk” and “Selfie” were introduced to the dictionary, the Pope added a comment on Twitter for the first time in history, and Dennis Rodman met Kim Jong Un of North Korea.
Late at night and in the cool comfort of my car, I heard “Closer” by Tegan and Sara. The song was meant for music lovers, not for the occasional dance club. Drums and anthemic synth were enough to send me to the moon with big emotions. The track also topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs of 2013 on May 4. A few weeks later I downloaded the album, Heartthrob. The collective song writing skills have a reinforcing effect from seven prior records. Mainly concerning heartbreak and love, the songs smartly draw in youthful vibrants.
I loved Heartthrob because of songs like “Closer” and “How Come You Don’t Want Me”. But, half of the album was lacking in gusto and failed to meet average attention spans. The songs were too similar sounding and it seemed that Tegan and Sara threw them together last minute to make a full album instead of an EP. It wasn’t thought provoking. Sadly, the only thing that I could hold onto was “Closer”.
I was a bit nervous when the latest album Love You To Death arrived on the scene. I heard a few singles that were quite impressive prior to this release. Songs like “Boyfriend” and “U-turn” were perfect additions to the band’s résumé. In its entirety, Love You To Death decimated every precaution that I took.
The duo’s work quickly provides a blanket of soothing sound. Opening strong is one of the sure attributes of Tegan and Sara. “Faint of Heart” unfolds with familiar professionalism. This song is one of the reasons that I talk so positively about the album. It strides with “Closer” in its catchy chorus and upbeat feel of free affections. The big difference I see in this track is slowing down the beats per minute. Essentially, a slow song with great vivacity can pay for itself.
The band isn’t keeping any secrets to themselves. They may not be the most lyrically profound, but the twins stay true to themes of ferocious sensuality. “Boyfriend” keeps poise and adds a rhythmic, mid-section breakdown. This builds into a lip-bitting dance that spells out the relational struggles with people who aren’t ready to delve into romance. “Stop Desire” throws a similar feel and holds onto the audience with excellently placed dynamics and longevity.
Speaking of dynamics, it was time for a shift of gears from the fast pace. “100x” is the piece I was looking for in previous albums. I loved the bravery when they decided to strip down to the piano and vocals. The clarity is so clutch. Honestly, it kept me from thinking differently of the album. Writing about trying to “leave at least 100 times a day” boasts the sincerity of broken relationships before the cut off point.
“BWU” is a beautiful climb back into the dance realm. It reminds me of ending a summer day. Maybe I’ve been out in the sun too long. Maybe I’m exhausted and plans got stomped out. But, in the few moments of listening, the night can end in blissful composure. The song is a retro-bow to the ’80s. The light progression of synthesizer and percussion make smooth transitions that carry the song to a well-timed ending.
This is my favorite album of the year, thus far. Every track is well-crafted, which is why I think this is the best Tegan and Sara album to date. The longevity of the songs is seamless as they are perfectly timed, allowing the audience to react and breathe in what they just experienced. Love You To Death is profound and refreshing. The most rewarding thing is that the sisters finally seem to pull it off with their 8th record. Shout out to the twins for this masterful piece of art.
SynthPop | Warner Bros.