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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Review: Tegan and Sara reinvent the love song in ‘Love You to Death’

    Album+artwork+for+Tegan+and+Saras+latest+album+Love+You+to+Death+released+on+June+3.
    Warner Bros. Records
    Album artwork for Tegan and Sara’s latest album “Love You to Death” released on June 3.

    Tegan and Sara have delivered solid indie-rock fringe albums since their debut in 1999 . The twin-sister duo started their music career with a rock-influenced sound reminiscent of other alt acts like Alanis Morissette and Hole. The girls found staggering success with their 2013 album, Heartthrob, which shifted the duo’s sound towards pop-rock and debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 .

    Three years later, and Tegan and Sara have created another powerhouse album, Love You to Death. The new album, released on Neil Young’s Vapor Records, brings the rock-led melodies that audiences have come to expect from them infused with a modern synth-pop sound.

    Love You to Death leads off with ‘That Girl’, an airy and youthful song about love, sets the tone for the rest of the record. The album sticks to a common musical theme but definitely hits a few high notes.

    The third track, “Boyfriend” brings an upbeat, synth-pop chorus and tells the story of a closeted love triangle that Sara was stuck in. “I let you take advantage cause it felt so good,” she sings. “Boyfriend” is rightfully the album’s lead single—while Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have famously sung about experimenting with other women, the song brings an opposite perspective on a social issue that has been absent from popular music.

    Between mid-tempo ballads like “White Knuckles” and “Hang on to the Night,” Tegan and Sara throw in the pop-rock jams that made mainstream radio fall in love with them. “Stop Desire” is one of these standouts, and the duo does an excellent job maintaining a pounding drum beat while building towards a powerful chorus.

    Love You to Death features the talent of producer Greg Kurstin, responsible for Adele’s record-breaking hit “Hello.” Kurstin worked a little on Heartthrob, but really shines through on Tegan and Sara’s new album. His experience as a pianist is evident in the seventh track, “100x.” The song uses the power of elongated piano chords to evoke pressing emotion. Tegan and Sara’s vocals sit on the border between haunting and relieved, while the lyrics convey the unhappiness of someone stuck in an unwanted relationship.

    Tegan and Sara bring back the sunshine with “U-turn.” Perhaps the most definitive song on the album, “U-turn” delivers their most dynamic melodies accompanied by thick layers of synth. The track’s heavy hitting beats and an in-your-face chorus rival any Taylor Swift breakup song but bleeds true positivity in its lyrical repentance of affection towards a significant other.

    The music of this duo has steadily evolved with the curve of alternative music, and although Love You to Death is another step toward mainstream pop, it still finds a way to stand out. Tegan and Sara prove with this album that they can bend genres just as well as they can bend genders (see “Boyfriend” music video). 


    Follow Sean Orth on Twitter.


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