The Con (album)

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The Con
Studio album by Tegan and Sara
Released July 24, 2007 (2007-07-24)
Recorded January 2007 – March 12, 2007, in Portland Oregon
Genre Indie rock, indie pop, alternative rock
Length 36:46
Label Vapor, Sire, London
Producer Tegan and Sara, Chris Walla
Tegan and Sara chronology
So Jealous
(2004)
The Con
(2007)
Sainthood
(2009)
Singles from The Con
  1. "Back in Your Head[1]"
    Released: 8 February 2008
  2. "The Con[2]"
    Released: 22 February 2008

The Con is the fifth studio album by Canadian indie rock duo Tegan and Sara, released on July 24, 2007.[3][4] The album charted at number 4 in Canada, going gold, and at number 34 in the Billboard 200.[5][6] Two singles were released from the album, "Back in Your Head" and "The Con" which both had music videos filmed for them.[7][8]

Guest performers on the album include Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie, Matt Sharp of The Rentals and formerly of Weezer (on Sara's songs), Hunter Burgan of AFI (on Tegan's songs) and Kaki King.[9][10][11]

Background[edit]

The album was written during a period of intense emotional turmoil for both Tegan and Sara. Sara was struggling with Canadian immigration to get her American-born girlfriend a working visa so they could live together, while Tegan was dealing with the breakup of a five-year relationship.[12] The twins were also mourning the death of their grandmother who, according to Tegan, had been like a second mother to them. She stated that these factors combined to make The Con "very dark and also very much about reflecting on getting older, long-term relationships and the end of things".[13]

The DVD edition of the album reveals the title track "The Con" was tentatively titled "Encircle Me" and "Like O, Like H" was previously titled "SOS".

Release[edit]

In March 2007, the band announced the release of The Con, along with the track listing and other information.[14] The Con was released on 24 July in 2007 on CD, vinyl and as a digital download.[3][4] As announced on their MySpace blog, a special edition CD/DVD was released at the same time as the CD-only version. The CD/DVD release has a Parental Advisory warning for profanity on the DVD, although the CD contains no explicit content.[15] The album debuted at number 4 in the Canadian Albums Chart. The album also debuted at number 34 on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling about 19,000 copies in its first week.[16] On week 2, the album fell out of the top 50, at No. 69, selling about 10,000 that week, totaling at 29,000. The album continued to chart that year until September, when it charted at number 192 before it fell out of the chart completely.[17] In November, they released the I'll Take the Blame EP, which featured "Back in Your Head", a remix of that song, and two new songs, released on CD and as a digital download.

In 2008, the first single from the album was released which was "Back in Your Head", released on CD and digital download in February, and a music video was filmed for the song.[7] The second single released from the album was for "The Con", released two weeks after "Back in Your Head", which also received a music video.[8] A music video for "Call It Off" was also released on September 15, 2008.[18] They also went on tour for the album, and for the United States portion of their world tour of this album, they have posted a series of videos called "Trailer Talk" on their MySpace profile.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (80/100)[19]
Review scores
Source Rating
AbsolutePunk (92%)[20]
Allmusic 4/5 stars[4]
Entertainment Weekly B+[21]
The Observer 5/5 stars[22]
Okayplayer (83%)[23]
Pitchfork Media (6.6/10)[24]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[25]
BBC (favourable)[26]

The Con received positive reviews from the media, scoring 80 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic.[19] Allmusic gave the album four stars out of five, saying that "Though each sister writes and sings lead on seven tracks, it is Sara especially who writes the more intricate pieces ("Relief Next to Me," "Like O, Like H"), showing a more adult songwriter, one who has matured since her first work came out, while Tegan draws more from simpler emo and pop-punk arrangements ("Nineteen," "Hop a Plane"), her songs more straightforward, both compositionally and lyrically, than her sister's." Adding "But this isn't to say that there's a kind of disparity or harsh contrast on The Con." BBC said that "Throughout The Con Tegan and Sara navigate a course that is both experimental and faithful to their pop music past. Alongside the lighter, less emotionally fraught leanings is a countering sharpness that cuts to the quick." Ending the review saying "With chameleonic deftness, Tegan and Sara have created a mystifyingly absurd but extraordinary album."[26]

Filter magazine calls The Con "a startlingly dark, yet characteristically vibrant offering, featuring a band that's learned to harness the energy-highs, while tempering pretty (even pastoral) pop-folk with a new, deeply-affecting brand of melancholy." PopMatters gave The Con a score of 8 out of 10, calling it "very, very good. To be more precise, it is one of the best albums so far of 2007 and one of the best recent pop releases." The A.V. Club says that "ultimately even The Con's failings work in its favor, providing a macro version of what the best Tegan And Sara songs do, by stumbling along recklessly, then falling together."[27]

The Observer writer Sarah Boden gave the album five stars out of five saying that "On The Con, their fifth album, the writing has acquired a melancholy, sophisticated bloom - the 14 songs here have a burnish that initially disguises end-of-the-affair wretchedness. Better still, it doesn't muddle emotion with overwrought hysterics." Ending with "When your heart feels like a stone in your breast, The Con will prove a perfect, sweetly addictive companion."[22] Jessica Suarez of Pitchfork Media gave the album a 6.6 out of 10 saying that "Yet the record's most interesting bits-- a keen sense of melody-- disappear too quickly and can't carry the album over its production bumps. The edgiest thing about the sisters Quin continues to be their haircuts." Ending that ""Relief Next to Me" thumps like wet newspaper though, her weak similes never building up to a satisfying payoff: a big chorus, a cute melody. "Relief" gets one thing right though: When Sara sings about things "in the dark", you get the feeling that, for much of their young, female audience anyway, they can serve as a beacon."[24]

Music videos[edit]

The video for "Back in Your Head" features the duo performing the song in front of an audience of people wearing white clothing and white balaclavas. In the middle there is one person wearing black clothing, and Sara looks over to Tegan and when she turns back the person has gone. Some more people wearing the black clothing appear behind Tegan and Sara, and they run away as the audience suddenly turns from people wearing white clothing to black clothing and balaclavas. The duo eventually find themselves back where they started, except the audience starts going back to people in white clothing and the curtains behind them are closed.[7]

The video for "The Con" features Tegan in a tower block talking to a psychiatrist, while Sara is searching all over the building for her. Sara eventually climbs out of the window and onto the stairs outside and climbs to the room in which Tegan is in. The psychiatrist suddenly faints, when Sara knocks on the window. Tegan lets Sara in and they run out of the room and try to escape the building. Near the end of the video, there are shots of Tegan in her bed dreaming of her drowning in a bath interspersed in the video. The video ends as Tegan manages to get herself out of the water, and she wakes up from the dream.[8] The video for "Call It Off" features Tegan in the middle of a room singing the song as Sara wraps colourful telephone cables around her.[18]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I Was Married"   S. Quin 1:36
2. "Relief Next to Me"   S. Quin 3:04
3. "The Con"   T. Quin 3:33
4. "Knife Going In"   S. Quin 2:13
5. "Are You Ten Years Ago"   T. Quin 3:21
6. "Back in Your Head"   S. Quin 3:00
7. "Hop a Plane"   T. Quin 1:53
8. "Soil, Soil"   T. Quin 1:27
9. "Burn Your Life Down"   S. Quin 2:26
10. "Nineteen"   T. Quin 3:00
11. "Floorplan"   S. Quin 3:41
12. "Like O, Like h"   S. Quin 2:43
13. "Dark Come Soon"   T. Quin 3:11
14. "Call It Off"   T. Quin 2:25
DVD features
  • The Con: The Movie (Making of the album)
  • Extras
    • Ptosis: Explained
    • Ptosis Outtakes
    • Duct Tape Dreads
    • Feelings Report
    • Video Chapters

Personnel[edit]

  • Tegan Quin – guitars, keyboards, piano, vocals
  • Sara Quin – guitars, keyboards, piano, vocals
  • Christopher Walla – guitars (6, 10), keyboards (12), organ (6), shakers (6), cymbals (5), tiny guitars (5, 14), bass (4, 9)
  • Ted Gowans – guitars (2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 14), keyboards (2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13), organ (13)
  • Matt Sharp – bass (1, 2, 6, 9, 11, 12) on all of Sara's songs
  • Hunter Burgan – bass (3, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14) on all of Tegan's songs
  • Kaki King – lap steel (4), guitar (11)
  • Jason McGerr – drums, percussion

Charts[edit]

Chart (2007) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart (ARIA)[28] 32
Belgian Albums[29] 47
Canadian Albums[5] 4
US Billboard 200[6] 34
US Alternative Albums[30] 11
US Digital Albums[31] 17
US Top Rock Albums[32] 10
US Tastemaker Albums[33] 4

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification
Canada (Music Canada)[34] Gold

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Result
2008 The Con Juno Awards, Alternative Album of the Year Nominated
2008 The Con Polaris Music Prize Longlist Nominated
2009 "The Con" Studio8 Song of August 2009 Won

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Edition
Canada July 24, 2007 Vapor, Sire Records
  • Standard
  • DVD
United States
Australia[28]
  • Standard
Belgium[29]
United Kingdom[35] February 25, 2008 London Records

References[edit]

  1. ^ "iTunes - Music - Back In Your Head - EP by Tegan and Sara". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "iTunes - Music - The Con - Single by Tegan and Sara". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Music | Tegan and Sara". teganandsara.com. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Brown, Marisa. The Con (album) at AllMusic. Retrieved Jul 22, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "The Con - Tegan And Sara". Billboard. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "The Con - Tegan And Sara". Billboard. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c "Tegan And Sara - Back In Your Head (Video)". Warner Bros Records. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "Tegan And Sara - The Con (Video)". Warner Bros Records. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Tegan & Sara Update – News Article – AbsolutePunk.net
  10. ^ Katie Hasty, "Tegan & Sara Weigh Pros And 'Cons' On New CD", Billboard.com, March 18, 2007.
  11. ^ Filter-Mag.com
  12. ^ Treuen, Jason. "Frankie: Tegan and Sara interview". Frankie. Retrieved December 21, 2007. 
  13. ^ http://metroweekly.com/feature/?ak=4882
  14. ^ "Tegan & Sara Weigh Pros And 'Cons' On New CD". Billboard. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  15. ^ allmusic ((( The Con [CD/DVD] > Overview )))
  16. ^ Katie Hasty, "'NOW 25' Fends Off 'Hairspray,' Prince To Remain No. 1", Billboard.com, August 1, 2007.
  17. ^ "BILLBOARD 200 The Con - Tegan And Sara". Billboard. September 22, 2007. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "Tegan and Sara - Call It Off [Official Music Video]". teganandsaramusic. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "Tegan and Sara: The Con". Metacritic. Retrieved June 16, 2008. 
  20. ^ "Tegan and Sara – The Con – Album Review". AbsolutePunk.net. July 24, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  21. ^ Neil Drumming (July 23, 2007). "The Con Review | Music Reviews and News". EW.com. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b "CD: Tegan and Sara, The Con | Music | The Observer". London: Music.guardian.co.uk. February 17, 2008. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Tegan and Sara « Okayplayer | okayplayer.com". okayplayer.com. 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  24. ^ a b Jessica Suarez (July 27, 2007). "Tegan and Sara: The Con | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  25. ^ Christgau, Robert (August 9, 2007). "Tegan and Sara The Con > Album Review". Rolling Stone (1032). p. 90. Archived from the original on Aug 8, 2007. Retrieved Jul 25, 2007. 
  26. ^ a b Gemma Padley (July 24, 2007). "BBC - Music - Review of Tegan & Sara - The Con". BBC Music. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  27. ^ Noel Murray, "Tegan and Sara: The Con", avclub.com, July 24, 2007
  28. ^ a b "TEGAN AND SARA - THE CON (ALBUM)". ARIA. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  29. ^ a b "TEGAN AND SARA - THE CON". Ultratop. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  30. ^ "The Con - Tegan And Sara". Billboard. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  31. ^ "The Con - Tegan And Sara". Billboard. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  32. ^ "The Con - Tegan And Sara". Billboard. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  33. ^ "The Con - Tegan And Sara". Billboard. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  34. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Tegan And Sara – The Con". Music Canada. 
  35. ^ "Tegan and Sara The Con". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 

External links[edit]