I know I'm a walking lesbian stereotype, but I don't care. I heart Tegan and Sara. A pair of gorgeous gay twins with deep grainy voices, going bananas on the guitar? Stop. I'm swooning. And I know I'm not in the minority in the LGBT community—I know plenty of queer ladies who adore both Tegan and Sara Quin, fantasize about sleeping with either of them, and at some point, in a drunken state of mind, have considered getting a tattoo reminiscent of the tree image on Tegan's forearm. Deny it all you want, queers—you know it's true.
But the thing about falling into the lesbian stereotype is that Tegan and Sara don't fall into many musical stereotypes. Sure, plenty of their music is about love and heartbreak and relishing the beginning stages of a relationship, but it's the particulars that make their music memorable—like the overwhelming naïveté and sensuality in "Nineteen," or the bitterness of standing next to the phone waiting to confirm a breakup in "Call It Off."
You can blast their social-justice anthems like "Clever Meals" and identify—despite your sexuality, race, religion, or gender—with the song's sense of self-acceptance and equality, and shout out lyrics like "And as I stand here screaming in despair/I say yes, this is my life/And yes, you should care."
Everything about their music feels like an open wound, like the rawness of their 2007 album The Con, which describes dark feelings of regret, betrayal, infidelity, sleeplessness, and depression. Which isn't to say that their "happy" songs are much different. Even tunes about hopeful, gooey love have an undertone of "I love you so much, I wanna die." Tegan and Sara combine somber melodies with even the most upbeat of lyrics (and vice versa) for an overall feeling of adrenaline, consistent and strong. Every one of their songs gets your blood going, whether it boils or runs cold.
The group's newest album, Heartthrob, is definitely more mainstream, but in a Tegan and Sara way. A handful of songs fall into cliché, like the borderline-cheesy anthem "Love They Say" ("You don't need to worry/This love will make us worthy/There's nothing love can't do"), but the album's electro-pop underbelly keeps up that familiar energy with the almost violently passionate "I Was a Fool" and the universal zeal of "Closer." That same ol' Tegan and Sara still shines through, and queers everywhere went nuts when the album dropped.
Plus, they always throw a fantastic show, constantly improvising onstage with their band, telling socially awkward/endearing stories from the road and from their childhood. Who can resist two beautiful tattooed lesbian sisters arguing with each other in Canadian accents and ironic T-shirts? NO ONE.