Love You to Death, the duo’s latest album, makes it abundantly clear: Tegan and Sara are done gazing in the rearview mirror. The aggressive, whooshing pop fever dream was overseen by of-the-moment producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Ellie Goulding), and it doubles down on its predecessor’s mainstream sheen. Whereas Heartthrob found the duo still occasionally wielding guitars, LYtD is an entirely electro-pop affair. “There were so many years where we felt like people would not let us change or evolve,” Sara explains of the duo’s forward-thinking mind-set. Even as the 35-year-old identical twins collaborated with everyone from rapper Theophilus London to punk rockers Against Me! and EDM maestro Tiësto, they still found it hard to shake fans’ preconceptions of their musical identity. “It was like, ‘No, no, you’re the lesbian folk twins that we saw in 1999 and we’re never going to let you live that down,” says Sara. “As a result we really aggressively pushed back.”
Sure, the outset of their career was defined by Lilith Fair folk, but beginning with 2007’s The Con, their first taste of mainstream success, Tegan and Sara progressively incorporated more pop elements into their music. By Heartthrob, they’d become a full-blown pop act.