Review Summary: Tegan and sara craft a collection of catchy tunes, but also leaves much to be desired.
So Jealous is Tegan and Sara's fourth album, but it's their first to reach a wider audience. It's the album in between their simple indie folk albums and their later more experimental and abrasive works. So Jealous is very much an album made by a still developing band. While not complex or groundbreaking, it is still a fun record that shows a lot of potential that is eventually realized on later albums.
Tegan contributes 8 tracks and Sara 6 to the album. At times it feels like Sara's tracks serve the purpose of breaking up the monotony of Tegan's poppy songs to give the album more of a indie feel. Sara's songs tend to be longer as well as more diverse. The album starts out with a pattern of two Tegan songs, a Sara song, two more Tegan songs, then another Sara song. This gives the first half of the album a formulaic, but consistent flow. The first track "You Wouldn't Like Me" starts with an acoustic build up that sets the tone of the rest of the album. The second track "Take Me Anywhere" is a short, straight to the point catchy tune that gets to the chorus before the 30 second mark. It's repetitive but satisfying.
What makes this album stand out from the crop is luxury of having two singer/songwriters with similar sounding but still unique songs and voices. Tegan and Sara write and sing their own songs and rarely collaborate. Tegan's songs tend to be on the popper side, and Sara are more experimental and quirky. Sara's songwriting is more abrasive and challenging, but her songs don't tend to hold the attention of the listener as well as Tegan's songs. Her songs tend to be slower, longer and have more variety in the instrumentation with keyboard and more emphasis on the guitar then Tegan's songs. Sara has since greatly developed her style on latter albums, but here her songs merely serve the purpose of breaking up the monotony of Tegan's songs. One thing they have in common is the lyrics. The lyrics are simple, but relatable and for the most part enjoyable. Because of the differences between the songwriting styles, So Jealous is accessible ,but demanding at the same time.
The musicianship is nothing special and mostly serves it's purpose of supporting the vocals. The twin sister's voice strongly compliment each other and the best parts of the album tend to be when they are singing in unison or when their voices support each other. Examples include "I Won't Be Left" and "Where Does The Good Go". The vocals are definitely an acquired taste, but are worth getting used to.
The singles easily stand out from the rest of the tracks and helped spark Tegan and Sara's stardom. "Walking With A Ghost" has been used in numerous television shows including a memorable inclusion on Grey's Anatomy. Grey's Anatomy alone has featured 6 of their songs. Being covered by The Whites Stripes and being featured in television shows further propelled their stardom. Songs like "Take Me Anywhere", "Walking With A Ghost", and "Speak Slow" are all catchy, short and straight to the point. None of these songs reach the 3 minute mark, which keeps the album at a fast pace. The singles are without a doubt the strongest songs on the record.
The major flaw of So Jealous is that it is too long. At 14 songs and 46 minutes it feels winded and it overstays it's welcome. Even though it's composed by two songwriters, it still lacks enough diversity to be a truly compelling record. The last three songs don't live up to the rest and the album overstays it's welcome. If a few songs had been cut, this album would be a lot more focused and more enjoyable. Although So Jealous fails to reach the potential of future albums The Con and Sainthood, it is still a more than solid and very enjoyable album.