The Weekend Review: January 2013 Report

Originally posted 2013-03-30 06:47:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Heartthrob (Tegan and Sara)

Producer: Greg Kurstin, Mike Elizondo, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, & Rob Cavallo

Released: January 29, 2013

Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

Top Two Tracks: “Drove Me Wild” & “Closer”


When I read in advance that Tegan and Sara had “gone pop” for their latest album, my first response was one of profound hesitation.  After all, I’ve found the band’s previous efforts to lack a certain dynamic energy that I’ve always felt was possible, and it has in large part been their identity as co-songwriters and musicians that has kept me coming back for more.  On Heartthrob, the former remains but the latter has been somewhat displaced by the practicalities of pop music (i.e., programming and the like).  However, much to my surprise, this new approach to their sound has reinvigorated their music and unforeseen strengths in their style have arisen.  In short, pop suits them.  From the infectiously catchy opener and lead single “Closer” (with a wonderfully conspicuous wink on the chorus line embellishment, made literal in the music video) to the retro-flavored gem “Drove Me Wild,” the songs maintain a uniform sound, but always with a hook or other appeal.  On previous efforts, as I’ve written, I’ve found Tegan and Sara’s music to suffer at times from the “half and done” songwriting under which there are no new movements or lyrics after the halfway point.  Here, where that does happen, it blends in and works, and my best guess as to why I feel this way is that pop music operates under different rules than rock.  If you’re interested in a flashback to the eighties blended with a clear dose of the contemporary, a band with rock sensibilities turned pop, Tegan and Sara’s Heartthrob is probably the next album for you.  I know that, for me, it has been difficult to break the circuit with this, their latest eminently listenable and fun record, on numerous occasions.

“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!