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CD of The Week

Week of 10/24/22

    Tegan and Sara - Crybaby (Mom + Pop)

    Even during a global pandemic, Tegan and Sara Quin couldn’t sit still for too long. Having just released an album and their autobiography High School in 2019, they soon began working on a series of creative projects that are all arriving now. The sisters developed their book into a TV show (now streaming on Amazon Freevee!), wrote a new album and left their long-time management and label home for good measure. Oh and there’s a graphic novel coming in 2023 as a companion prequel to High School. Crybaby marks the start of a new era for the band, as they tweak and twist their Pop phase of the ‘10s into something familiar yet just different enough.

    Crybaby kicks off with the hyperactive “I Can’t Grow Up,” mixing the urgent energy of Sainthood with the slickness of Heartthrob and Love You to Death. Riding on a hooky clipped vocal “doo doo doo do” sample (which apparently is actually “loo loo loser”), the song tries to wrangle the emotions of siblings that spent the past few years mining their childhood while hitting their 40s, all as Sara and her partner made the grown-up decision to have a child.

    Lead single “Fucking Up What Matters” was a sonic surprise when it landed months ago, full of anxiety about blowing up your own relationship, with shouty verses from Tegan into a catchy, profane chorus. “Smoking Weed Alone” thankfully isn’t a stoner song but a rumination on solitude and loneliness set to an energetic dance beat. “I’m Okay” is another massive dance-pop track with more tweaked vocal samples, as Sara uses the power of positivity to shove past the low self-esteem that has plagued them in past songs. “I don't feel well, I got the spins / Twenty years of them / I don't feel well counting wins / Twenty years of them.”

    The Quins lean into the melodic, emotional mid-tempo mood they’ve mastered on “All I Wanted,” the earworm “Yellow” and “Faded Like a Feeling,” the closest to a true acoustic song they’ve released in a long time. Crybaby comes in for a landing with a few too many of these slower tracks in the back end of the record but for the most part, it jumps back and forth between bangers and ballads. Some of the lyrics also feel a bit less specific and vaguer but that may be a way of trying to encapsulate bigger emotions rather than smaller moments.

    Crybaby proves that Tegan and Sara can still find new angles and growth in their music and songwriting, as well as overall artistic output and endeavors. And contrary to what they may have sung in the past, everyone likes them when they cry.

    Tegan and Sara will kick off their Crybaby tour right here in Philadelphia at Union Transfer this Wednesday, October 26th.
    Review by Joey O.

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