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Album Review: Tegan and Sara’s “Crybaby” is full of nostalgia, emotion

Whether you remember them from their work on the theme of “The Lego Movie,” or from their songs being frequently featured on the medical drama, “Grey’s Anatomy,” Canadian twins Tegan and Sara Quin have been consistently releasing music since their debut in 1999. Their most recent album, “Crybaby,” dropped early last weekend, and it tackles themes of love and growth with excitement and inspiration. 

Tegan and Sara’s music falls under the genre of indie pop, while also including elements of synth and rock. Their style has always been easily identifiable by the distortion of vocals and ambient background to their electric drums and guitars, and “Crybaby” fits right in with the rest of their discography. 

A majority of the songs are peppy and upbeat, like "I Can’t Grow Up” and “Under My Control,” of which the lyrics feature the album's title. These songs set the overall tone of the album by referencing the struggles of growing up and falling in love, but contrast the lyrical message with dance music and lively energy. 

The artists also tap into their softer views on trust and relationships with slower songs like “Faded Like A Feeling” and “Whatever That Was”. These ballads focus on the more introspective aspects of the singers’ love lives and eloquently deliver a more melancholy perspective. 

Tegan and Sara do an impeccable job on this album of maintaining a cohesive style and flow, while also setting each song apart from the others. Each song's lyrics and musicianship all work well when listened to together, but the album does not fall into the trap of having the songs all blend into each other without being recognized as their own pieces of art.  

“Crybaby” references lots of clichés about love, examples of which can be seen in the lyrics of “This Ain’t Going Well” like “you can’t love somebody who you didn’t ever really trust” and “I can’t love somebody who doesn’t love the worst parts of me.” While these clichés are oftentimes overused to make pop music sound unoriginal, the use of these adages in “Crybaby” serves a good purpose. Instead of shoving these messages down the listeners' throats, Tegan and Sara utilize them as gentle reminders that everyone needs to hear now and again, and hopefully to inspire some listeners into recognizing their own worth. 

Both members of the musical duo have openly identified as gay from the start of their careers, and by providing insight into the emotions involved in queer relationships, they have consistently served as an inspiration for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Overall, “Crybaby” is a delightful album full of nuance and nostalgia. Longtime fans may be able to note the increasing levels of maturity in the duo's work, some of which may be a result of the fact that Sara and her partner welcomed their first baby into the family two months ago. New listeners can be assured that their latest album is an excellent representation of their style, and hopefully, be encouraged to join the rest of Tegan and Sara’s fans. 


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