Courtesy of Sire Records

October 8, 2019

TEST SPIN | Tegan and Sara — ‘Hey, I’m Just Like You’

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2019 has been an exciting year for young, LGBT, female pop artists.

From Clairo’s fumbling exploration of bisexuality on Immunity to MUNA’s genre-bending sophomore album Saves the World, it seems that there is no stopping the outpouring of talent coming from young LGBT artists this year.

On Hey, I’m Just Like You, angsty lyrical content and dramatic production allow twin sisters Tegan and Sara to easily blend in among all of this young talent. If I didn’t know any better, I would never guess that Hey, I’m Just Like You is actually their ninth studio album.

The Canadian pop-punk duo has been in the music industry for decades and started writing songs together in the ’90s when they were just teenagers. On Hey I’m Just Like You, Tegan and Sara revisit those versions of themselves by revamping a collection of songs that they wrote from ages 15 to 17. They use the experience that they have gained throughout their successful careers to add more punchy production to the words that they scribbled down as teenagers.

The album was released alongside their new memoir High School, a recounting of their adolescent adventures in dropping acid, fighting with each other and exploring their sexualities.

If the duo’s mission statement for both Hey I’m Just Like You and High School was to reflect on the dramatic highs and lows of being young and finding yourself, then they have absolutely succeeded.

In a lot of ways, listening to this album feels like finding missing pages from Tegan and Sara’s high school journals. Hidden behind glossy production, the lyrics on this album, while sometimes overly dramatic, more often feel raw, authentic and confessional.

On the 90’s rock-inspired opening track “Hold my Breath Until I Die,” the sisters confess “I’m so lost, running circles in my head.” And they follow this up with a nagging question: “If I jump, will you catch me in your arms?” Later, on the bouncy pop-punk track “I Know I’m Not the Only One,” they ask “keep a secret for me,” and insecurely ponder what their future will look like (“I wonder if someday we’ll just be a memory”).

For the most part, the album stays true to their roots with stand out anthem tracks like “I’ll Be Back Someday” and “I Don’t Owe You Anything.”

Yet, on this album the sisters continue to push the boundaries of genre with dance-ready, Robyn inspired tracks. “Keep Them Close ’Cause They Will Fuck You Too” and “We Don’t Have Fun When We’re Together Anymore” both deliver synthy electronic beats that cleverly disguise powerful lyrics like, “have another drink, it’ll make you cool / It’ll make you you.”

The twins further display their versatility of production with more stripped-down tracks like “Please Help Me” and “Hello I’m Right Here,” and again on the angsty, chorus-driven “Don’t Believe the Things They Tell You (They Lie).”

Even so, the album’s lyrical content is remarkably consistent – always honest and always raw.

Not every track on this album hits the mark, however. While songs like “You Go Away and I’ll Be Fine” and the title track “Hey, I’m Just Like You” are perfectly pleasant, they were not particularly memorable.

This being said, Hey, I’m Just Like You is a success by all means. Lyrically, the album captures all of the turmoil and confusion that comes with adolescence. On the whole, on Hey, I’m Just Like You, Tegan and Sara are able to reflect upon their past-selves, as they use their years of experience in the music industry to pair confessional lyrics with sleek production and create a sound that is unique to them.

3/5

 

Jean Cambareri is a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She can be reached at jcc444@cornell.edu.