Date: October 04, 2004
Author: Stephanie Haselman
Headline: Tegan and Sara :: So Jealous
Tegan & Sara first arrived on the scene in 2000 with their debut album, The Business of Art. And let me just start by saying, I really hate that album. It is, however, a part of my record collection. Having bought it on a whim, I was gravely disappointed by an album that was nothing more than a contrived Ani Difranco rip-off fronted by two nasally vocalists. To be truthful, after three or four years, I have still never gotten over halfway through it. Yes, itís that bad.
When their sophomore album, If It Was You, came out, I heard great things. And I scoffed. I thought, ďNo way. There is no way those two girls could improve that much.Ē When album number three, So Jealous, arrived in the mail, I snatched it up immediately. Here was my chance either to rip into it completely (which Iím no good at) or eat my words. Well, Iím still trying to lose the weight I gained when I had to admit that their transformation has created one impressive career makeover. The fact that the Quin sisters canít really sing all that well doesnít stop them from being able to write some great pop-rock songs. It does, however, hold the album back just a tad from what it could be.
Tegan & Sara could very well be the missing link between the long neglected Lilith Fair demographic and todayís indie rock scene. The power pop on So Jealous is far from the aggressive folk sound of their first album. Instead, they accomplish, in a way, what Weezer has. Theyíve created a pop album that emo and indie rock fans from across the board can unite over. And, just like Weezer, they arenít going for any particular sound. Theyíre not really drawing from any of the bandís hitting it big today.
The album starts with the hook-laden You Wouldnít Like Me, a melodic pop song that, although itís the most toned down on the album, has a great build up. The second track, Take Me Anywhere, follows Rivers Cuomoís blue album-era songwriting formula but it doesnít sound a bit like a knock-off. After that, they switch it up again when the third track, I Bet it Stung, starts out with a mesh of great, fuzzy guitar work. Itís probably the most textured, fullest track on the album and presents a completely different aspect of their songwriting. I Know I Know I Know slows the album down a little but picks up some eighties darkness and blends it in with their enviable hooks. Coincidentally, it features Matt Sharp on keyboards. Where Does The Good Go is one of the best songs on the album, although itís certainly hard to choose. The song is so full that itís one of the few points on the album where their vocals become aligned with the rest of their songwriting. They blend in meticulously with everything else thatís going on. Itís the most melodic, a little eighties, and a little nineties and itís got one of the best choruses Iíve heard in years. The title track, So Jealous, creates the perfect blend of nineties post punk with their brand of pop. Track ten, Speak Slow, reminds me of the songs Josie Cotton performed on Valley Girl.
Itís rare for me to focus on so many individual tracks when I write reviews but this album has so many good songs that I just couldnít help myself. Itís really quite possibly the best pop album Iíve heard all year. Tegan & Sara are capable of giving all of todayís ďitĒ bands a lesson in not only good songwriting but also originality. Theyíve got personality, talent, and great hooks to tie it all together. Lyrically, they create a great recipe; theyíre a little moody, a little humble, and rarely insecure. Theyíre a combination only Mother Nature could create so successfully.
I get more into So Jealous every time I hear it and with every listen, I turn it up a little louder. So do yourself a favor and, no matter where your taste in music lies, pick this one up. Itís not to be pigeon holed anymore than its creators have allowed themselves to be.