Tegan and Sara: Hey, I'm Just Like You (Sire) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, December 15th, 2019  

Tegan and Sara

Hey, I’m Just Like You

Sire

Nov 14, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Whilst gathering material for their recently published memoir, High School, identical twins Tegan and Sara Quin stumbled upon a clutch of old cassettes containing their first recorded forays into songwriting. Rather than slam that musical wormhole firmly shut forever, the Quin sisters embraced their teenage selves figuring that these long forgotten songs, many written when they were just 15, were an essential part of the Tegan and Sara story. Furthermore, they felt that these rough demos represented the purest most emotionally raw, unfiltered versions of themselves and decided to re-record them and release them as a companion to their book.  

It's proven to be an astute decision as Hey, I'm Just Like You is so much more than simply a musical curio or a nostalgic road trip down memory lane. Indeed it stands up incredibly well to contemporary scrutiny. It also shines a light on the sister's nascent musical talent revealing a sophisticated ear for melody, structure, and songcraft.

Of course, when the sisters wrote these songs the teenage predilection for melodrama and angst replete with the occasional clunky lyric does surface from time to time. But the teens are so often the years when things are felt most keenly, when your world vibrates with self-doubt, as you search for meaning and endeavour to make sense of the world and your place in it. Such themes relating to love, loss, sexuality, isolation, and being forever misunderstood are all explored here. However, there's also a sense of joy and freedom and a first glimpse of the passion that's been ever-present during Tegan and Sara's 20-year career. Hey, I'm Just Like You manages to be evocative, wistful, and often rather beautiful capturing a snapshot of a time when the sisters pondered their futures with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. 

Some of the song titles do lean toward the overdramatic, for example, "All I Have to Give to the World is Me" and "Keep Them Close 'Cause They Will Fuck You Too" could headline tearstained pages torn from a teenage diary but throughout the album, there's far more subtly and nuance than there is cliché.  The shimmering evocative beauty of one of the first songs they wrote back in 1996, "Hold My Breath Until I Die," thematically sets the tone for much of the album although the actual musical style is varied, mixing the guitar sound of their early career (eg." I'll be Back Someday") with a dusting of the pop sheen prevalent in their more recent work.

Ultimately it's a melodically joyous album and a fascinating insight into the duo's initial attempts at songwriting as they collide with their future selves. As Tegan reflected in the album's press materials: "This is a record we never could have made as teenagers, full of songs we never could have written as adults." And what, in less skilled hands, could have been something of an indulgence transpires to be a joyous celebration. (www.teganandsara.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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