Date: September 2004
Author: Kris Scott Marti
Review of Tegan and Sara's So Jealous
Twentysomething lesbian sisters Tegan and Sara have built up a following with gutsy albums and quirky live shows that bring the audience into a familial environment via homey sibling bickering. Their new CD, So Jealous, is obviously positioned to be their breakout album--I found it front and center at Virgin Megastore under New Releases, whereas it took me three trips to independent music stores to find their last album, If It Was You.

Because I was expecting their latest album to sound like their previous one, I didn't like So Jealous the first time I heard it. Actually it wasn't that I didn't like it, I just liked If It Was You way more. It was more wild and reckless, while So Jealous is much more polished and low key.

But after listening a few more times, I started to really get into their new groove. It makes sense that this new CD would get them much more attention: So Jealous delivers solid indie rock that should appeal to their established fan base, at the same time that it attracts a new audience.

"Take Me Anywhere" is bright and upbeat, with that fantastic, driving rhythm full of interesting breaks that makes up the Tegan and Sara sound. There is also a floaty synth or moog sound that adds nice texture.

"I Know I Know I Know" is my favorite song on the album. It's warm and pretty like a spring afternoon in the sun, and the lyrics are a love song for real people that have imperfect, hectic lives but try to stay present in the moment. The lyrically similar "I Won't Be Left," however, is a little too therapeutic and process-y, and the lyrics come across as a bit contrived; plus the music is just not very interesting.

In contrast, "Walking With A Ghost" is interesting ear candy because it sounds very much like 80s rock when synthesizers first became popular. The lyrics have a simple repetitive quality that totally works.

And "So Jealous," the title track, kicks ass! For some reason I am reminded of Journey when I hear these two songs. They don't sound like Journey, but they have those momentous opening bars that are distinct and anthem-like.

The opening track, "You Wouldn't Like Me," and track ten, "Speak Slow," are super-catchy pop fun that are the closest to a punky girl band sound on this album. Even though the lyrics are kind of heavy, they come across as snappy and self-effacing enough to be charming.

So Jealous is an enhanced CD that includes a short movie of the making of the album which is equal parts self-indulgent and fascinating. It was fun to see the process of putting together an album, but also somewhat boring, so I empathized with the girls waiting around the studio while dubbing. Still, fans--especially those who have been inspired by Tegan and Sara to pursue their own musical interests--will enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at this album.

All around, So Jealous is a strong effort from Tegan and Sara that's definitely worth checking out.