CD Review: Tegan and Sara’s “So Jealous”

Originally posted 2008-06-29 13:23:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

RATING:  3 / 5 stars

By Chris Moore:

So Jealous brings to mind the definition of a three star album.

If one star indicates one’s ability to record an album and five stars suggests one’s talent for producing superior, impressive music, then three stars is a rating for a good album. In this case, Tegan and Sara have found a unique sound for themselves and embraced it. It is a good album that I have enjoyed—I am arguably biased in their favor, as my first two listenings took place on a two and a half mile stretch of I-91 during a major traffic jam; they saved me from utter boredom and frustration.

Yes, it is a good album. Does it demonstrate the musical genius of Brian Wilson? Does it compete for poetic excellence with the Wallflowers? Does it draw you in entirely, body and soul, as Jack Johnson’s new album can? The answer to these questions is an honest “no.”

This being said, I have learned that one cannot expect miracles out of every album ever made.

Tegan and Sara’s greatest strength lies in their ability to combine acoustic and electric elements. The first track demonstrates their very catchy sound as it builds from an acoustic song to an all-out electrified jam. And they sound good together. The combination of their voices is a blend that is pleasing to the ear.

For the most part, the songs are successful—memorable, even. This is not an album with one or two good songs and the remainder a void of throwaways. After all, how can one resist their cries for the subject of one song to “take me anywhere”? Or ignore their quiet, though authoritative pleas for another not to “get so uptight,” then to “Go away!”?

They have chosen to incorporate basic harmonies, which is a good choice for their vocal blend. Even their slower songs have a backbeat that drives them simply—as is the case with their vocals—yet effectively.

The most significant factor in my mediocre rating of this album lies in their one notable flaw—repetition. On several tracks, they tend to take the same chorus, albeit a well-written, catchy chorus, and repeat it too many times. Ending some songs earlier or expanding the lyrics would have significantly improved the flow of the album.

I truly believe that they have it in them to write better songs. Actually, I should say they have it in them to better the songs they have already written. “You Wouldn’t Like Me,” “I Bet It Stung,” “I Won’t Be Left,” “Walking With A Ghost,” and “Fix You Up” are strong tracks and very good songs. They are performed in a heartfelt manner by two talented young songwriters who are perhaps a couple of the world’s last, best hopes for successful women artists in the music industry. They write their own songs, play their own instruments, are entirely clothed in all their pictures, and criticisms aside, have produced a thoroughly enjoyable album.


“You Wouldn’t Like Me” (Tegan & Sara Cover)

Originally posted 2008-10-28 22:33:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to your Tuesday edition of the Laptop Sessions.  After my quite lengthy post last time, I’m going to keep this one fairly brief — not because I want to be lazy and write less, but because I still have a lot of work to finish before tomorrow morning.

Tonight, I’m pleased to present my second video in a three-part series where I present a song from not only a new band to the Laptop Sessions, but also originally done by a female lead singer.  Now, if you’ve come to the music blog before, then you know that my vocal range does not exactly lend itself to great heights…  But, even though I had to drop an octave for this song tonight, I’ve been true to the Laptop Sessions promise to always record in the original key!  Indeed, that’s one of the reasons that Jim started the Laptop Sessions — to create an alternative to carelessly and ineffectively recorded cover songs on YouTube.

While I don’t expect anyone to be wowed by my Johnny Cash-like adaptation tonight (I’m exaggerating with this description, of course!), it was interesting to record for a couple reasons.  The biggest one is the rhythm of the first verse.  It was difficult at first to keep the rhythm of the guitar, while at the same time being true to the tune and timing of the verse.  As with any acoustic cover I’ve recorded, though, I took the time to practice this opening over and over, beginning a few months ago and then coming back to it tonight.  In the end, it’s exciting to see the playback and know that, if only in baby steps, my abilities and stylistic experimentations are expanding because of this session-a-day project.

I first saw Tegan and Sara when they warmed up for Ben Folds in concert.  There was something about the duo that I liked, and even though they are twins, I’ve always liked the quiet, calming presence of Sara.  Which is odd, since I’m usually most interested in the lead singer or songwriter of a band.  Anyway, I bought their 2004 album So Jealous, and although I found a lot of the songs to be repetitive within themselves (i.e. a lack of new lyrical material past the halfway point of any given song), I also found the album really catchy.  I liked the upbeat sound and their vocal harmonies are really great.  They’re not exactly the Beach Boys by any stretch of the imagination, but they’ve found their own niche.  One of my favorite memories of this album is when I first bought it and played it for my sister, who liked it very much.  I just remember sitting in the basement rocking out to it with her.  We don’t exactly have the same tastes in music, so it’s exciting when we find some legitimate crossover!

Anyway, this song — “You Wouldn’t Like Me” — is the first track from the album.  When I did my usual Wikipedia/google run tonight, I didn’t learn all that much new about the band.  However, one thing I didn’t know was that the White Stripes recorded another track, “Walking With A Ghost,” from this 2004 album.

Okay, without further ado, here’s my version of their song.  Keep coming back to the best acoustic cover song music blog on the web, as you don’t want to miss Jeff’s original song tomorrow or Jim’s “Thumpin’ Thursday,” as Jeff would say.  And, of course, I’ll be back on Friday — this time, with a song that I can guarantee you know (but probably not the version that you’re familiar with)…

See you next session!