It’s been a whole 10 years since the Canadian duo Tegan and Sara released their fifth studio album “The Con.” To me, and to thousands of others, this album means so much. The album can basically be described as a punk orchestra playing a symphony with loads of guitars.
Although they’re identical twins, they always know how to make their music sound different from what they did last. Every Tegan and Sara album is unique because they’re constantly changing their sound as they mature. “The Con” is a beautiful in-between sound of purely acoustic, minimalistic compositions, as heard in “So Jealous” (2004), and more upbeat alternative-pop compositions, as heard in “Sainthood” (2009). What I appreciate about Tegan and Sara so much is that they write with an open mouth and an open heart and there has never been a song they’ve recorded that they didn’t write themselves. It’s their constant authenticity that’s made them stay both relevant and respected over their music career.
Being able to see their journey throughout the years has been touching. Many of their earlier songs are about emotionally heavy themes, like depression, anger, suicide and other forms of self-harm. Most of Tegan and Sara’s audience, specifically the LGBTQ community, survived their struggles because of their music, and that’s what I find so beautiful about them. They’ve been supportive to people they’ve never even met. To be able to reach an audience in this kind of way is rare these days. Tons of artists lose their authenticity as they advance in the industry, but Tegan and Sara have remained humble (and they don’t look like they’ve aged a day, either).
Last week, I saw Tegan and Sara live at the Orpheum Theatre here in Boston during “The Con X: Tour.” The concert began with the sisters performing “The Con” track by track, except in newly composed acoustic versions. Even with a full room of almost 3,000 fans, they made me feel like I was the only one they were singing to. In between each track, they talked about the songs’ backgrounds, how “The Con” came to be, they reminisced about their beginning years and they joked around with each other a lot, as twins do. With their adorable sense of humor, they somewhat made it into a two-in-one offer as both a comedy and a music show. Sara mentioned that when they are in line at Starbucks, Tegan sometimes responds with “Sara” when the barista asks for her name just so that the barista can then ask for Sara’s name, hear Sara reply with “Sara”, and then think that their parents were crazy enough to give twins the same name. The audience was cracking up.
After they finished performing “The Con,” they performed a handful of songs from their other albums. Some of those songs included “The Ocean” and “Red Belt” from “Sainthood”, “Closer” and “Now I’m All Messed Up” from “Heartthrob” (2013) and “White Knuckles” from their newest record “Love You to Death,” which was released last year and is pop perfection, by the way.
“The Con: X Tour” only has a couple shows left, but if you ever get the chance to see Tegan and Sara live, I would highly recommend it. Also, please remind others that they have other songs besides “Closer.” It’s a pet peeve of us Tegan and Sara fans.