This particular Tiny Desk Concert is very painful to watch. Not because of the music, but because it was recorded the day before the 2016 election, when the world was good and positive and happy. Tegan and Sara are fun and optimistic about making history and about drunk tweeting the results. And their mood is infectious. People actually believed that goodness would win.
So, horrors aside, Tegan and Sara play a four song set–they say that they couldn’t decide on just three songs. They play three from their new album and one older song.
And the blurb notes: It’s hard to believe Tegan and Sara have been making music for 17 years. …. Contrary to the poppy sound of 2016’s Love You To Death, the two insisted on performing their Tiny Desk concert acoustically — stripping down highly produced songs while hearkening back to their early recordings. Without the distraction of production, we’re left with the gorgeous sound of roughly identical voices blending. Plus, their endearing banter and jovial sibling rivalry left us defenseless against their charm.
I wondered if they did four songs so that they could each sing lead on two.
Tegan sings lead on “Stop Desire” (with lovely harmonies from Sara). There’s a bass (by Eva Gardner) and drum, but this song is mostly a simple, pretty piano melody. It sounds like it was meant to be poppier (at least compared to their earlier stuff), but it still sounds very nice.
When the song is over, Tegan says her instinct is she wants to banter … “if i had known this many people were going to come, I would have applied a little more attention and focus to the application of makeup and clothing” (although she looks very good already).
Sara sings “Boyfriend,” her voice is noticeably huskier. The lyrics of this song are great, in which a lesbian relationship might not appear that way at first listen.
You call me up like you want your best friend
You turn me on like you want your boyfriend
But I don’t want to be your secret anymore.
Then Sara talks about Ryan Adams confronting bad reviewers and how she was thinking that that was an approach they could take since they got many bad reviews. But now she enjoys ignoring bad reviews, saying the best you can do is ignore it and then they only get three retweets or 3 hearts on Twitter and you’re like “I hope you enjoyed writing that bad review for 3 people.” She pauses and says, “that makes me sound mean spirited…but I guess I am. I guess deep down inside I might be a Donald Trump person.” This elicits groans from many including Tegan. Sara jokes, “Too soon? We’re Canadian and we can’t wait for your election to be over too.” That’s when Sara said the thing about making history and she apologizes that she brought the room down.
Sara sings “100x” which has a “di-di-didnt you” chorus. Again this hints at the poppier format, but I like the song in the stripped down version–it’s piano only (from Gabrial McNair). Tegan gets the lead in the middle section, which is quite a change in style. It’ s cool song overall.
When Tegan says that they couldn’t decide on three songs, the crowd applauds and she jokes, “Thank yo for your enthusiastic response.” Then Tegan asks if everyone else is hot, to which Sara jokes, “Honest to God, Tegan has talked about her heat issues for the last 5 years. I am so afraid when menopause hits.”
Tegan sings lead on Closer, their single from Hearthrob and it is quite pretty. The whole band is back on this one–and their voices work so well together. I also love that Brendan Buckley is using one of those box drums for the bass drum.
I really enjoy this set a lot, if only their prediction about the elections was better.
[READ: December 1, 2016] American Born Chinese
I have mentioned this book a lot. But I only recently realized that I never posted about the book itself. I read it a long time ago and it is the reason I fell in love with First Second graphic novels (and why I have more or less read all of their books by now).
It had been long enough since I’d read it that I didn’t remember just how fantastic it was.
This book is three seemingly unrelated stories–about a monkey god, a teenaged boy, and a sitcom with an incredibly offensive Chinese character. The way he stitches these stories together is amazing. Continue Reading »