Best Song for Wistful Self-Reflection: “That Girl”
Love You to Death is Tegan and Sara’s second album of gorgeous electropop. While I loved Heartthrob, this album is an even more cohesive and consistent effort. “That Girl” sets the introspective yet catchy tone for the album. Tegan has spoken in interviews about wanting to move her songwriting toward reflecting on herself in relationships, rather than placing blame. That theme holds true throughout the album, which makes “That Girl” an ideal opening track.
Most Likely to Make You Contemplate Your Ex: “Dying to Know”
This is one of the most musically interesting songs on the album. The layering of heavy and quick beats gives “Dying to Know” the jittery feeling that you might get when running into an ex. My favorite element is the vocal delivery, which switches between staccato rhythms and drawn-out notes. This song might talk about unhappy emotions, but it’s impossible to be sad while listening to it.
Most Flirtatious Song: “Stop Desire”
If you want a straight-up catchy tune about love and lust, “Stop Desire” is for you. I knew from the first listen that this would be one of my favorites on the album. I love music that takes time to fully appreciate, but there’s nothing wrong with a little instant enjoyment. The lyrics call for an end to game-playing, which any single person can appreciate, and the chorus is made for dancing.
Best Tortured Ballad: “White Knuckles”
“100x” is a strong contender for this title, but “White Knuckles” is a more emotional listen for me. In the opening bars, the distant echo of “Knuckles turn white” hooks me instantly. While “100x” is sedate in its regrets, “White Knuckles” feels fresh. Sara proved herself to be the ballad queen on Heartthrob, and I’m so glad that she continued to explore that side of her songwriting.
Best Sing-Along Song: “U-Turn”
This was one of the songs released ahead of the album, but I didn’t fully appreciate it until I heard it in the car. Apparently my laptop speakers couldn’t capture the quirky beats and bouncy chorus. “U-Turn” is a love song that might be too late, another example of Tegan exploring her own faults as a romantic partner. The Verge describes Love You to Death as pop music for grown-ups, and this song is a perfect example of how mature lyrics can still be fun.
If you want to hear these songs for yourself, they’re all posted on the official Tegan and Sara Youtube channel. Pardon me while I go listen to this album for the rest of the summer. I already have tickets for their concert in September!