Tegan and Sara’s recent radio-friendly pop stands out because of the singers’ two distinctive voices, intelligence in craftsmanship, and unique point of view—a point of view informed partly by the fact that sisters Tegan and Sara are gay. It’s possible to miss that last fact when listening to many of their songs. But sometimes you’ll notice a “she” where a “he” would be from a straight female singer, and sometimes there’ll be yet-subtler tells within the lyrics.
The band has kept releasing videos for songs off of June’s Love You to Death, the first few of which fell into the category of “pop video anyone could make.” There were cartoon backdrops for the glorious single “U-Turn,” a music video seemingly about familiar music-video conceits for “Boyfriend,” and a very adorable showcase of dogs filmed in slow-mo for “100x.” Their latest two clips are more out-and-proud, in the tradition of their 2012 “Closer” video that staged a raging party filled with gay and straight makeouts. Most strikingly, these new videos demonstrate how queerness can define a person’s life beyond sexual desire and gender identification—it can be an aesthetic, and an orientation toward society.
The latest, for “Faint of Heart,” gathers up LGBT actors—including a number of trans and other kinds of gender-noncomforming young people—for a lip-sync battle on stage. Teen Vogue, where the video premiered, announced, “This is representation at its best,” and that’s certainly a valid interpretation: It gives a category of people who have long been mostly excluded from popular media their moment onstage, literally. “This particular video is especially significant because it features trans actors without focusing on their trans status or transition,” Cooper Treibel, one of the featured performers, said in the press materials. “This shows young and closeted trans people that they are not defined or limited by their trans status, and can hopefully find a sense of pride in their community and in themselves."