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Where most of Sara�€™s songs feel perfectly restrained, Tegan�€™s carry an extra dose of energy, often cramming words into otherwise spare song structures. �€œAre You Ten Years Ago�€� is a well-contained lyrical ramble wrapped around a mechanical drumbeat, resulting in a sound that embodies the feeling her words are meant to convey. It�€™s one of the most mentally anguished tracks on the record, and it�€™s that wordy repetition that makes it work.
�€œHop a Plane�€� takes that heartache and twists it into a rhythmic rock number, a song that is celebratory in execution if not in context. Tegan is plaintive but matter-of-fact in her subject matter: �€œAll I need to hear is that you�€™re not mine.�€� This brand of loneliness makes obvious song fodder, but there�€™s an undeniably compelling nakedness about it. Elsewhere on the album, she toys with various lines of communication to indicate uncertainty �€“ writing emails or texts in �€œThe Con�€�, the absence of telephone calls in �€œSoil, Soil�€�, the temptations of reaching out in �€œFloorplan,�€� and later, a call placed to indicate finality in �€œCall It Off.�€�
The struggle with identity switches gears with an infusion of history on both �€œNineteen�€� and �€œLike O Like H,�€� where the concept of growing older is viewed through separate frameworks--the ending of a relationship and the allusion to family conflict. One direct, the other obtuse, these songs again represent distinct but parallel paths of two different songwriters. �€œNineteen�€� is another frenetic rock track, juxtaposing a relationship�€™s early days with its aftermath, perfectly capturing pent-up emotion in stark lyrical twists: �€œLove me/ You were all mine/ Love me/ I was yours, right?�€�
On �€œLike O Like H,�€� Sara again takes a sense of teenage isolation and spins it from a different perspective: with stilted yelps, she uses the all-too-familiar memory of growing pains to communicate social anxiety. �€œBurn Your Life Down�€� is one of the album�€™s most melodic tracks, with layered synths and an ease that indicates the band�€™s �€œnew direction�€� is their most comfortable yet.
The Con ends with a pair of companion songs, �€œDark Come Soon�€� and �€œCall It Off�€�, both of which (as their titles indicate all too well) are the album�€™s bleakest moments. �€œDark Come Soon�€� is an understated piece that slams unexpectedly into its chorus: �€œSo what? I lied / I lie to me, too.�€� It again brings the notion of loneliness to the forefront with a call to action: �€œEveryone I love / I need you now.�€� It�€™s a difficult grappling, and an attempt to bring back interpersonal relationships to the theme of solitude that Sara�€™s songs have taken throughout the record.
�€œCall It Off,�€� the acoustic closing track (and later, the album�€™s final single), serves as the nail in the coffin for Tegan�€™s set of songs. The struggle to communicate comes to a close, and the result is the album�€™s best song. �€œMaybe I would�€™ve been something you�€™d be good at,�€� it laments, perfectly encapsulating the notion that at the end of any relationship, the lack of certainty is what hits hardest.
Haha.. we were kidding about all those other ones. This is obviously, objectively, the best record
ever of the decade.
Dec 23, 2009
After five years and three albums spent building something, Wilco decided to tear it down and start fresh. The music industry did the same thing. But it didn't exactly have a choice.
Dec 22, 2009
With just ten songs, Arcade Fire successfully mourned the loss of multiple relatives, helped us discover a new way of dealing with adversity, and changed the face of indie-rock.
Dec 21, 2009
With the music industry in a perpetual downward spiral for much of the decade, it became difficult to blame bands for licensing their songs to corporations. When the money paid for records as brilliant as this one, it was impossible.
Dec 18, 2009
Once upon a time, the person we now know as the single most irritating figure in all of popular music was the most impressive artist the game had ever seen. It was fun while it lasted.
Dec 17, 2009
It was the most talked-about record of 2006, but when no one could quite make sense of it, they stopped trying. Doesn't make it less brilliant, but more.
Dec 16, 2009