Tegan and Sara perfect new 80’s sound with “Love You to Death”

Tyler Mead, Senior Staff Reporter

There’s an unspoken, but definitive hierarchy of Canadians. At the bottom are the guys who burnt down the White House in the War of 1812 and Justin Bieber, who’ve all done horrible damage to us. Somewhere in the middle are Carly Rae Jepsen and the bulk of Canadian citizens. They’re polite and occasionally get our attention with something fun, but for the most part go unnoticed. Thankfully, the Canadians have people to look up to. Namely, the Quin sisters, who make up the band Tegan and Sara. Now, with its eighth studio album “Love You to Death,” the duo continues their benevolent reign over our northern neighbors.

“Love You to Death” continues the path into pop music its last album, “Heartthrob,” forged. While most indie bands struggle to transition from their bread and butter into a new genre, Tegan and Sara actually found strength in the transition. “Heartthrob,” with its chart topping single “Closer,” took them from indie darlings into the spotlight, and they’ve actually managed to improve since. Now working with only one producer to create a more cohesive album, with clear ’80s synth pop inspirations, the Quin sisters have released their most polished album to date.

The album opens with “That Girl” and “Faint of Heart”, both sung by Tegan. The first throws back to their earlier work with a clear sense of hurt and vulnerability. “Faint of Heart” jumps up in tempo and delves into a rocky, but rewarding relationship.

“Boyfriend” follows, which was the first single released for the album. It has a similar feel to “Closer,” but with a more personal touch. With lyrics such as, “you turn me on like you would your boyfriend, but I don’t wanna be your secret anymore,” Sara makes a statement about the hesitation of making a budding relationship official.

The electric tempo continues on “Dying to Know.” With hints of “Safety Dance” in the track, it definitely feels like one of the most retro songs on the album. It’s also one of the most danceable tracks, and will be warmly welcomed at any bar or bat mitzvah.

“Stop Desire,” is another show-stopping Tegan song that’s sure to take off. It’s a classic love song about burning passion, and a definitive “getting it on” song. “White Knuckles” tunes things down, but only by a bit, and actually delves into the Quin sisters’ relationship with each other. Sara gives a beautiful vocal performance stressing her need for independence and forging a more individual identity.

Sara goes further into the issues facing them as sisters on the track “100x.” Another single released earlier this year, “100x” sounds a lot like a break up song, but in reality explains the hesitation Sara had in moving away from her sister, and to a city where she was no longer part of a pair.

The lyrics invite listeners to understand the tension this move caused with lines like, “I swear I tried to leave you at least a hundred times a day,” and, “it was cruel of me to do what I did to you.” The song’s drama is balanced out in the music video, which prominently features small dogs’ ears blowing in the wind in slow-motion  definitely worth a watch.

Sara begins the close of the album with what might be the best song on it, “BWU,” where she goes into her aversion to getting married. “All the girls I loved before told me they signed up for more. Save your first and last chance for me, ’cause I don’t want a white wedding,” is the powerhouse of the chorus. It’s personal, powerful and one of the catchiest songs they’ve released.

The close of the album are the last single, “U-Turn” and “Hang On to the Night.” Tegan performs the former and continues the inflection in “That Girl”, discussing a willingness to better herself and the relationship. “Hang On to the Night” is Sara’s last dance song, fittingly closing out a beautifully crafted album. The song is slower and softer than anything else on the album, but leaves a sense of contentment and victory at the end of a very expressive album. It eases listeners out of their boppy, 80’s-world full of heartbreak, and back into a sense of stability.

“Love You to Death” is everything a die-hard fan of the twins could ever want. It shows a comfort in their new genre, keeps the brilliant writing they’re known for intact and continues their tradition of intensely alluring hooks.

Tegan and Sara outdid themselves and it’ll have listeners falling in love with them over again. 

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