Album Review: Hey I’m Just Like You

The Band:

 

Name: Tegan and Sara

Album: Hey I’m Just Like You

Release: September 27th, 2019

Genre: Indie-Pop, Rock

Label: Sire Records

Previous Albums: “Love You To Death” (2016),  “Heartthrob” (2013), “Sainthood” (2009), “The Con” (2007), “So Jealous” (2004), “If It Was You” (2002), “This Business of Art” (2000), “Under Feet Like Ours” (1999).

 

 

The Backstory:

Tegan and Sara Quin’s ninth studio album “Hey I’m Just Like You” has one of the most unique origin stories that you probably won't find anywhere else. The queer twins from Calgary Alberta, dove into their highschool years, back when they had just started playing and writing music after finding their stepdads old guitar, for inspiration to the songs on their new album. The whole album is a remake of the Quin sisters first two cassette demos they made while they were in highschool nearly twenty years ago. If that doesn’t sell you on the album then maybe their raw and honest exploration of the emotions of growing up, growing older, and figuring out who you are and how you fit in the world will. 

 

*Photo Via @Teganandsara Twitter

 

 

The Mood:

The whole album feels like that moment when you're at a crossroad, right before you choose which way you're going to go. The songs and lyrics are saturated in anxiety of floating in the in-between, right at the precipice of something big, and yet it doesn’t leave you with the feeling of something unresolved, rather it feels light with the knowledge that everything will be alright.

 

 

What's Good: 

Over the years Tegan and Sara have shaken up their sonic direction with almost every one of their albums, never being confined by a single genre of music. Starting out much more Punk Rock, with a switch to Pop with both ‘Heartthrob” in 2013, which earned them a top-three spot on Billboard 200, and “Love You To Death” in 2016, which peaked at number sixteen. Their newest album is no different and once again changes direction sonically, while still remaining and feeling like a Tegan and Sara album. “Hey I’m Just Like You” feels as if they combined many of their previous sounds, leaving it a bit “Closer” to punk rock while still feeling like its went through a pop canon. A nice metaphor for the albums blending of the past and present nature.

 

In contrast from the sound, the raw emotional lyrics of Tegan and Sara’s newest album matches what we’re used to hearing from the twin's previous albums. The lyrical stories are painfully relatable, honest, and hits close to the struggle of growing up and figuring out your identity. Exploring the complexities of life and relationships(both with others and with one's self), the lyrics are real, raw, and the emotion behind them is tangible, leaving the album consistent with the ones that came before it. 

 

Track seven titled “I Know I’m Not The Only One” speaks to the twin's ability to make relatable songs, even when they were still teenagers. Perhaps that's what makes this track even more interesting. The bittersweet song about realizing that a relationship isn’t going to last forever is easily translated in lyrics like “I wonder if someday, we’ll just be a memory” and “You’ll be good to me, but your not my dream”. Showcasing how even at a young age they understood that some relationships aren’t going to last forever, and the love they felt in that moment would come back one day for someone else. A story that becomes so relatable to listeners.

 

The closing track on this album “All I Have To Give This World Is Me” is fitting. A song about the painful struggle and anxiety of one's identity, the future, and how it all fits together. The track and lyrics easily tell a story so many people share in some small way. The songs filled with heartbreaking relatable lyrics like “Talked myself outta being me, Didn’t wanna fight my own worst enemy”, and “All I have to give this world is me, and that’s it”. Paired with the songs transition from the lyrics “Don’t you ever wanna change?” To “You don’t have to change”. The sound and production on the track help to bring the lyrics to life and make them feel even more dramatic. The whole song slowly building to the final verse, begging to “Go ahead and choose, go ahead and choose…”  and falling to the last chorus that repeats its anxiety and yet feels final, as if a choice was made, but not shared in the context of the song but instead in that of Tegan and Sara themselves.

 

 

*Photo Via @Teganandsara Twitter

 

 

What's Not: 

Nothing is inherently bad on this album. There isn’t anything that doesn’t match and the album feels cohesive overall. The sound and production seems to flow. The album gives a nice mix of fast pop beats and slow raw songs, with deep cutting lyrics across the board. The twelve-song length of the album seems a good choice, giving the audience a good chunk of songs that established fans will love, without being so long that it loses focus of new potential fans. When it comes to sound you could say the electronic production of “You Go Away And I Don’t Mind” is in too strong of a contrast to the rest of the production on the album, leaving it feeling a little out of place, but the familiarity and relatability of lyrics like “go away, I don’t mind…bye, bye I know I’ll miss you” bring the song back into focus. There aren’t any songs that drag, at least not if you're looking for an album that's full of deep meaning and powerful lyrics that's still easy to listen to. If your looking for something that's more hidden in a pop canon, this album isn’t quite it.

 

 

My Top Tracks:

I Don’t Owe You Anything

Please Help Me

All I Have To Give This World Is Me

Hey I’m Just Like You

 

 

The Coda: 

“Hey I’m Just Like You” is a fitting title for this album, presenting a theme of unity that at first seems to contrast with the individuality and self-discovery of the album but ends up showcasing how we are all more alike in our struggles then we think. While the lyrics presented in each song appear almost sad and drowning in the uncertainty, the reality of early adolescence in the album doesn’t feel sad. Rather it feels more hopeful and comforting. The knowledge that the two girls who wrote these songs nearly twenty years ago are okay and good today, leaves the listener with a sense of content. The album is stellar in its ability to reach and touch its audience, presenting a deep meaning and raw emotion while still feeling light. The album is defiantly worth listening to. If the album isn’t enough, the Quin sisters also released a memoir in tandem with the album, called “Highschool”. The book, written in alternating perspectives of Tegan and Sara, discusses drugs, sexuality, identity, and music through their highschool years. The book offers even more layers to be peeled back off the album and in my opinion, is a must-read for anyone who’s ever gone through highschool. Both the book and the album offer such a unique take on music, and you can't pass it up. 

 

 

Where to find it:

You can stream “Hey I’m Just Like You” on any streaming platform. Vinyl’s, CD’s, and cassettes are all available on their website https://teganandsara.com/

 

  *Photo Via @Teganandsara Twitter

 

 

 

 

Images:

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