Recordings | December 2017

By Julio C. Reyna, December 2017 Web Exclusive.

Artist: Various Artists

Album: Tegan and Sara Present The Cox X: Covers

Label: Warner Brothers

To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of their pivotal fifth album, The Con, Tegan and Sara have opted to forgo the re-release path and instead handpicked various artists to cover each song for The Con: X.  The album mostly excels because of this attention to detail, with many managing to make the tracks completely all their own. Everyone from Ryan Adams, Cyndi Lauper, Chrvches, Mykki Blanco, Muna, Shamir, Hayley Williams and many more are involved, making this also a queer and queer ally affair.

What makes the compilation fascinating is the fact that, at times, these covers can make the dark and sad nature of some of these songs even more present. The main culprit may be that like the band itself, the tracks mostly steer toward a more electronic/synth direction versus the guitar-driven originals. The battle of the band Tegan and Sara was in 2007 versus who they are today is on clear display here.

“Floorplan,” a stand out track is where Sara Bareilles strips away the fast paced guitar strums and airy high pitched vocals and creating a slower piano-driven and moodier affair. The HAIM-esque chord progression of the chorus makes the line “I know I’ll hold this pain in my heart forever” the focal point of the song while the original treats it almost like a throw away.

While the album is almost the sonic opposite of the original, it all feels familiar. For listeners, it not only helps evoke feelings of nostalgia, but may also perk some interest in checking out many of the featured acts. For an album that nearly tore the band apart this compilation also serves as a reminder of how far they have come and how far reaching their influence has been. Most of all, it is a testament of their staying power.

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