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CD of The Week

Week of 6/06/16

    Tegan and Sara - Love You To Death (Warner Bros.)

    Tegan and Sara famously took a musical left turn with their last album, 2013's Heartthrob, veering into glossy dance pop (with a dark undercurrent, naturally). The gamble paid off, with 'Closer' giving the duo their biggest crossover hit and resulting in everything from an onstage appearance with Taylor Swift to earning an Oscar nomination for The LEGO Movie's 'Everything Is Awesome!!!'

    However, the Quin sisters are the last artists who would rest on their laurels and have continued on their path to world domination by crafting Love You To Death. On their eighth proper record, they hone and polish their new sound into a shiny gem.

    What will always put Tegan and Sara a step above the myriad of artists working in this synth-y sound today are their personal, heavy lyrics. Particularly the one-two punch in the middle of album of 'White Knuckles' and the sparse ballad '100X.' Sara has said these songs are looking back on the times she wanted to break up the band during some rough patches between her and her sister. Knowing that lines about wanting to 'break that mirror in two' and 'I need out on my own. I don't wanna live this way.' are about Tegan and not a romantic relationship give these songs far more weight than if they were in just another breakup song.

    In the first single 'Boyfriend,' Sara wonders why her partner isn't going public with their relationship, over swooshing beats and an electronic marimba effect that brings to mind Naked Eyes' 'Promises Promises.' Other highlights of LY2D include 'Dying to Know,' with its pointed question 'Is the one you ended up everything you wanted?' and Tegan's yearning love song 'Stop Desire.' Additionally, 'U-Turn' has the biggest, most irresistible hooks on the album.

    The high point of the record is 'BWU,' which is one of the most directly queer songs they've ever written and a unique take on a topical issue. On top of some of the album's biggest beats, Sara rejects the institution and traditions of a wedding, even on the heels of the widespread legalization of gay marriage. Knowing that Sara was briefly married in her 20's makes the sentiments behind the lyrics even more powerful.

    Musically the songs on Love You To Death aren't too far from Heartthrob at all, just with a more refined and alike sound. Have we reached Peak 'Female Artists Doing Synth Pop?' Possibly, but if anyone should lead the pack, it is Tegan and Sara. The Quins return to Philadelphia on November 3rd at The Fillmore.
    Review by Joey O.

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