Arts, Features

REVIEW: Tegan and Sara come full circle in their “throwback” album

Anyone who’s gone through the trials and tribulations of high school can tell you it is a time where insecurities reign and for most, it’s a time better left in the past.  

Tegan and Sara performing at the Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ontario in July 2014. The Canadian indie duo released their ninth studio album, “Hey, I’m Just Like You,” on Friday. COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Tegan and Sara Quin, twin sisters from Canada, flip this idea on its head with their ninth studio album, released last Friday, called “Hey, I’m Just Like You.” 

The album was created from old songs the pair wrote during their high school years and it explores themes like heartache, finding oneself and exploring sexual identity. The pair also recently released a memoir in conjunction with the album, which they describe as their “origin story” called “High School.

“Hey, I’m Just Like You” takes listeners through the sisters’ young adulthood in the span of a thirty-eight minute run time. The songs are relatable and empowering — many are reminiscent of the pop-punk band Paramore. Some tracks are so edgy they would fit in perfectly on the “Ten Things I Hate About You” soundtrack. 

The record’s titular track “Hey, I’m Just Like You” has a very ‘80s pop feel to it, fueled by synths and emotionally vulnerable lyrics. While the composition of each individual song varies, the project as a whole builds off of these components. 

The sisters’ vocals sound increasingly similar on songs like “I’ll Be Back Someday” and “Keep Them Close ‘Cause They Will F— You Too” and as you make your way through the project they somewhat blend together. At times it’s hard to decide whether or not a song is meant to be danced to, or listened to. 

There are outliers to this formula, with “Hello, I’m Right Here” utilizing acoustic instrumentals that make the song feel raw and intimate. The duo’s vocals are also slower, matching the tempo of the track. The result is a far-more cathartic experience that gives the sense it is ripped straight from a diary entry.  

The album’s eighth track, “Please Help Me,” is the album’s most reflective track. It is also slow, as the sisters contemplate their futures and fear they might become “all the horrible things I said that I would never be.” The emotions built up behind the lyrics are again paired nicely with the slower, acoustic beat.

The mix between traditional pop and acoustic instrumentals is present throughout the album and if the listener is not a fan of both types of sounds being apart this album then it’s not for them.

The album is an intimate journey from start to finish. Although the lyrics often work better with acoustic instrumentals, the album as a whole works well as a dive into the duo’s adolescence.

Tegan and Sara are coming to The Wilbur in Boston Oct. 25  as part of their tour, promising an interactive concert where they will be playing mostly acoustic songs and reading segments of their memoir to the crowd. 

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