When we look back at pop at the end of this year, there are two names that will stand out head and shoulders above the rest. Those names are Tegan and Sara, who have built on every tantalising single they’ve released from Love You To Death so far to blitz one of the decade’s most storming pop albums.
If this sounds a little bit hyperbolic, then let’s take stock of what they’ve put out there so far. The sunny bop of Boyfriend. The massive middle-finger kiss-off (and arguably a career best) in U-Turn. The emotional wallop of 100x. The radio-ready pulse of Stop Desire. How many other acts have delivered consistency to such a level that their own songs are clamouring for sing-along attention?
Not only that, there’s also a typically impish T&S slant on the title, whose love arguably ends up being more focused on an empowered self than any deliberate object of affection. If one of the singles has them “writing the love song you deserve” to a prick, opener That Girl has a more introverted heart as they recognise “I just wanna be the girl I once was/ I never wanna be that girl I see”.
There are times where songs infiltrate the mind with a seemingly rudimentary melody, like Faint of Heart or Dying To Know (“is the one you ended up everything you wanted?”). But in the hands of the twins and their producer Greg Kurstin they burst into kaleidoscopic choruses that elevate each song into an instant pop classic. No filler, no squishy detour, just straight-up bangers.
More to the point, it never sounds exhausting and neither does the message wear. The album certainly reminds us that heartbreak makes for much better material than happy-clap joy, but even on a ballad like White Knuckles there’s such pointed confidence in the delivery that a victim’s flaccid warbling just isn’t an option. In that respect, Love You To Death is the empowering break-up album we’ve all deserved for a very long time – that title sounds just about right, because death is probably the only thing that will separate us from this wonderful record.