Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 Essential Albums by LGBTQ Artists, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Considering that the qualifier “LGBTQ” can often be open to various interpretations, for the purposes of this particular list, we have defined an artist as LGBTQ if he, she or they have ever publicly identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer. Moreover, albums by groups have been included in the list if any of their members fit the aforementioned criteria, even if some members do not.
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TEGAN & SARA | So Jealous
Selected by Mark J. Marraccini
If 2013’s shimmering synth party, Heartthrob, was your introduction to queer indie-pop sibling duo Tegan and Sara (like it was for many), then you really should go back to where they first cracked the pop code—on their 2004 breakthrough, So Jealous.
On their third album, Tegan and Sara Quin traded in their Ani DiFranco-esque indie-folk vibe of their first two releases for a brighter, guitar-driven, and more accessible new-wave-influenced pop vibe. So Jealous arrived spunky, bouncy and self-reflective.
Standout tracks like “You Wouldn’t Like Me,” “Speak Slow” and “Where Does the Good Go,” each colored by shades of The Go-Go’s and The Cars, deliver deeply-drawn lyrics that kept So Jealous from being just another “bratty” power-pop album—which, let’s be honest, there were enough of those in 2004.
The Quin sisters knew that this album was a risk. They realized they were on a path to a more obscure music career if they didn’t try expanding their sound, so this shift was deliberate. “For us it was imperative that we change our career,” Sara Quin told Time in 2014 when they released a tenth anniversary expanded edition of the album, “We made a record that would change our career.”
The risk definitely paid off. They finally got radio and music television support, made it onto Coachella and Lollapalooza stages, and opened for The Killers and Weezer on their respective tours. Rolling Stone called the album’s songs “buoyant” and predicted for them “…a long, fertile career ahead.” Yep, that was pretty spot-on.
Today, they’re working on the follow-up to 2016’s Love You to Death and, according to a recent Twitter posting by the duo, the album will be “what you listen to during your next break up.”
In the meantime, check out their Tegan and Sara Foundation which, according to their website, “fights for health, economic justice and representation for LGBTQ girls and women.”