Song of the Week: Tegan and Sara Heal Wounds of the Past with “Yellow”

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Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Tegan and Sara are back with an ode to the music of Coldplay on “Yellow.”

It’s been six (!) years since a full-length Tegan and Sara album. As the beloved sister duo gears up for the October 21st release of their tenth LP, Crybaby (via Mom + Pop Music), they’ve started rolling out previews of the new era, including their latest, “Yellow.” It’s no mistake that it bears the same name as one of the most famous love songs in recent decades — Coldplay’s “Yellow” — and is rather directly referencing it in the accompanying video.

No one’s ever going to walk down a gloomy beach in a music video for a love song involving the color yellow quite like Chris Martin, but Tegan and Sara sure land a great homage in their own visual. It’s a simple track led by acoustic guitar and a tight drum machine that keeps the lyrics front and center, allowing the story they tell in the song to remain the focus. Bruises and scars fade with time, they point out, and once they are no longer the severe black and blue, there’s still a period before skin is completely healed — a period where an area of injury turns yellow.

“‘Yellow’ was written after we began to take steps to heal the bruises we have both carried with us since adolescence and early adulthood — wounds that never quite healed right and flare up seasonally, sending us spiraling backward in time,” the two shared in a statement. “Are we doomed to remain forever 15, breaking up and breaking apart? I hope not.”

“Yellow” is an ode to times in between — healing is often a non-linear journey, and it’s certainly not always a pretty one. Each step of the journey, each day moving forward, matters, though, and that’s what Tegan and Sara have so thoughtfully captured here.

Get tickets to Tegan and Sara’s upcoming tour dates here.

— Mary Siroky
Contributing Editor

Honorable Mentions:

Julia, Julia – “Fever in My Heart”

Julia Kugel of The Coathangers has unveiled her solo project, Julia, Julia, as well as the haunting single, “Fever in My Heart.” Ahead of Derealization, her debut record set to release on September 30th, Kugel forges a new sonic path for herself. While her previous work rested on the rambunctious and energetic side, she steers in the opposite direction with this new single, offering a more intimate and psychedelic experience. “Fever in My Heart” is like a drug that keeps drawing you deeper and deeper into its reign. — Kelly Park

Michigander – “Stay Out of It”

You know the moment in a coming-of-age indie film where the character is driving through their small town, and maybe things are moving in slow motion, and maybe someone throws their arms out into the night air triumphantly and looks across the car at their love interest with all the affection in the world in their eyes? Michigander wrote the perfect song to accompany that moment. “Stay Out of It” is pure, infectious pop, radiant and honest. “I don’t know where we’re going, but I don’t care as long as I’m with you,” he sings, leaving us ready for whatever the journey might hold, destination be damned. — Mary Siroky 

Elizabeth M. Drummond – “Congratulations”

The patient, shimmering trot of Elizabeth M. Drummond’s new single, “Congratulations,” lends itself perfectly to her charged whisper. “I won’t forget it, no, I won’t forget it,” she sings, biting through her teeth. The sarcastic “congratulations, you blew it” she mutters in the final verses is her bittersweet thesis, letting the angst build to a fuzzy, psychedelic climax. With so many tense focal points pitted against each other, “Congratulations” is a welcome example of Drummond’s songwriting prowess. — Paolo Ragusa

Blu DeTiger, Biig Piig – “Crash Course”

Blu DeTiger is back with another infectious collaboration, this time with Irish singer-songwriter Biig Piig. The appropriately-named “Crash Course” moves at an electrifyingly quick pace, complete with DeTiger’s usual funk bass and some delightful auxiliary percussion. It’s refreshing to hear both artists turn the tempo notch high while retaining their respectively cool styles, always effortless and wonderfully stylish. As they both warn the listener, “Catch me if you can,” it’s clear that Blu DeTiger and Biig Piig are deservedly driving in the fastest lane. — P.R.

High Vis – “Blending”

UK rockers High Vis are back with another brilliant single from their forthcoming album, Blending. The song, which serves as the album’s title track, is indicative of their sonic maturity: The guitars are warmer than ever, the structures more flexible, and the lyrics more vulnerable. When lead singer Graham Sayle takes his “I’m blending in” melody to the highest note in the final chorus, the earnestness and power is unavoidable. He laments his previous attempts to fit in with the archetypes of his class, existing as “a sum of parts, never whole.” But as he and the band ramp up to a cathartic chorus, it’s hard to imagine a band more confident in their new stories and their new material. If you’re a fan of the visceral post-punk coming from England, while also craving something more dreamy and contemplative, “Blending” is a perfect place to start. — P.R.

Sorcha Richardson – “Shark Eyes”

The Dublin-born singer-songwriter Sorcha Richardson announced her second studio record, Smiling Like an Idiot, and offered her newest single, “Shark Eyes.” Akin to a shark catching a glimpse of its prey, Richardson is determined to reel in her lover, whatever the cost. The single indulges in darker, obsessive thoughts that can naturally coincide with unrequited love. It’s shockingly honest, confessing to feelings that most would rather deny. Even in its darkness, it is still full of glimmering hope in moments of longing desire. It’s powerful, it’s seductive, it’s mysterious, and above all, it’s absolutely explosive. — K.P.

black midi – “Sugar/Tzu”

Just prior to the release of their third LP, the conceptual Hellfire, black midi dropped “Sugar/Tzu,” a genre-blending, spastic tune that showcases the eccentricities they’ve been honing since “bmbmbm.” As frontman Geordie Greep plays the role of a young child who murders a boxer mid-match, the song bounces back and forth between jazzy horns and explosive, lightning-fast arpeggios. The structure recalls Schlagenheim’s “Western,” while the instrumentation follows in the footsteps of last year’s Cavalcade. It’s black midi at their most theatric, and it’s impossible to look away. — Jonah Krueger

The Chats – “I’ve Been Drunk in Every Pub in Brisbane”

“I’ve Been Drunk in Every Pub in Brisbane” makes a simple promise. Based on the name alone — as well as the name of the album on which it’s found, Get Fucked — The Chats are seemingly aiming to provide a sleazy, drunken piece of pub-punk. And, boy, do they deliver. In less than 90 seconds, the furious track blows a hole through the head of its listener with distorted power chords and the ramblings of singer/bassist Eamon Sandwith. Let’s just hope it never plays at an actual pub in Brisbane, lest a montage of destructive shenanigans breaks out. — J.K.

Pool Kids – “Arms Length”

Four years after the release of their debut album, Music to Practice Safe Sex To, Pool Kids are set to return in a week’s time (July 22nd) with their self-titled sophomore effort. “Arm’s Length,” the latest single from the upcoming album, continues the upward trajectory set by previous Pool Kids singles “That’s Physics, Baby” and “I Hope You’re Right.” By all accounts, Pool Kids have taken the best aspects of their sound, cut the fat, and are ready to deliver their songs with a newfound sense of self-assuredness.

Such an ethos comes through in the confidence of “Arm’s Length”. After a sample, the song kicks off with intensity thanks to a soaring melody and roaring guitars. The track then brings the volume level down just long enough for lead singer and guitarist Christine Goodwyne to bemoan the inconveniences of group chats. Complete with a tasteful synth solo and a climactic finish, “Arm’s Length” is yet another high point for a band on the rise. — J.K.

Charlie Hickey – “Choir Song (I Feel Dumb) 2.0”

It wasn’t too long ago that Charlie Hickey dropped the beautiful, Saddest Factory-released Nervous at Night, a project that found Hickey allowing his songwriting to speak for itself. Most of the tracks remained subtle, tastefully accentuating Hickey’s wonderful voice only when necessary. That’s what makes the release of “Choir Song (I Feel Dumb 2.0),” a reimagined version of the standout Nervous at Night cut, so welcome and so damn fun.

The new recording takes the original’s piano-driven emotions and turns them into a cathartic piece of maximalist pop — think Phoebe Bridgers collaborating with Dylan Brady or Lucy Dacus produced by Clarence Clarity. Samples of distorted guitar, clipping drums, and ascending synths cut in and out as Hickey’s natural voice becomes pitch-shifted. Who knew that one of the loveliest tracks from his album had such banger potential? — J.K.

Song of the Week: Tegan and Sara Heal Wounds of the Past with “Yellow”
Mary Siroky

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