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In both tone and style, Tegan and Sara’s music has changed in fits and bursts over the years, swinging between lovesick indie rock ballads to angry breakup anthems. Through it all, they have kept an authenticity and rawness about them that has inspired a loyal following. Here are their five most essential albums.
If It Was You (2002)
The album was a sign of the twins coming into their own as much as it was an early indicator of their broad versatility. Slicker production and more polished vocals did nothing to tone down the punky, garagey edge at the heart of their songwriting, which carries through more pop tracks like “Underwater,” and even the banjo ballad “Living Room.”
Love You To Death (2016)
It’s something like the victory lap to 2013’s Heartthrob. Shorter, starker, and more tightly focused than its predecessor, it lacks some of its vibrant energy but packs in plenty of emotion, making efficient use of its half hour runtime. Tracks like “Faint of Heart,” “BWU” and “100x” were welcome signs that Heartthrob was more than just a one-off.
The Con (2007)
Tegan and Sara bared their teeth like never before. The album that Tegan once said had blood all over it is the twins at their most passionate, running through a full slate of emotions that accompany the end of a relationship, from the wistfulness of “I Was Married” to the anger of “The Con” to the chaotic, raging “Nineteen.” Sara’s sidebar, “Back in Your Head,” is a pure pop break from the emotional tumult that hinted loudly at their future direction.
So Jealous (2004)
Tegan and Sara played with a brighter, more polished pop rock sound that divided critics but brought them plenty of commercial success. Reflecting the shift in the Quin sisters’ personal lives as they moved to almost opposite ends of Canada, excellent songs like “Fix You Up” and “Speak Slow” are as bittersweet as they are bright, hopeful for the future but pulling no punches emotionally.
A game changer for Tegan and Sara. It saw them go all in on the pop undercurrents that had always run through their previous work in one form or another. Its exuberant, boisterous synthpop was a strikingly abrupt, yet seamless departure from their alt-indie roots. In embracing a new sound, the Quins sacrificed absolutely none of the sheer talent and fierce individuality that had brought them to that point.
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