Music

Tegan and Sara - "BWU" (Singles Going Steady)

Steve Horowitz: This bit of ear candy begs to be put on repeat. The sweetness never gets cloying. Heck, this could be early '60 Ricky Nelson with just a few changes. The video creatively illustrates the sentiments without ever devolving into sappiness. The search for true love finds its outlet in TV shows like Married at First Sight, but who needs expert help when one can just grab a ring and search for a willing partner on life's journey. Apparently BWU stands for "Be Without You", but the song insists the opposite is true. We all need someone to love. A wedding is not necessary. [9/10]

Chris Ingalls: If the Singles Going Steady reviews I've been assigned over the past several months are any indication, Tegan and Sara are one of many, many contemporary acts mining the '80s for inspiration. Musically speaking, "BWU" is all plastic synths and dinky drum machines, but it's all in the service of a gorgeous, heartfelt love song. The shimmering vocals work perfectly with the John Hughes soundtrack vibe, and the hooks -- particularly in the soaring chorus -- are plentiful. I feel like I just stepped back to 1983 and switched on MTV. [8/10]

Pryor Stroud: One of the standout tracks from June's spectacular Love You to Death, "BWU" is a scintillating synthpop paean for romantic fidelity and monogamous fixation, for the bliss that marriage promises and ultimately pollutes. It may be crafted from the most basic elements of the genre -- Vince Clarke-like synth bubbles, cascading bass-droplets, and sprawling, reverb-soaked choruses -- but, viewed from above, it sounds unequivocally modern. This is a song about love repudiating tradition, rejecting exaltation, and finally embracing the mortal yet life-affirming constancy it's always contained. "Save your first and last dance for me / I don't need a white wedding", the chorus begins, Sara's voice saturated both with passion and submission to the future that this passion dictates, and as she ushers the song into its climax, you can hear her tear off the veil that she once thought represented love at its zenith. [9/10]

Jordan Blum: The video feels very retro; it would've fit well in the late '80s or early '90s, as there were a lot of videos like this (singer addressing the camera in-between shots of him/her walking around town, defeated and/or happy). I like the simplicity of it, too. Musically, it's catchy, but the fusion of electronica and pop isn't anything special. [7/10]

Chad Miller: Pretty good song. The melody is really pretty even if it sounds overproduced at times. There were some really pretty lyrics too like "I don't need a lock to prove that you trust me." Some of the lyrics seemed to clash with the whole here-and-now, simple description of the relationship though. The lines about the little things were really sweet, but then the big declarations of saving your first and last dance/born came barging in and undermined everything else. [7/10]

SCORE: 8.00


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.