Gay Iconography: Tegan and Sara Bring LGBT Visibility ‘Closer’ To Pop

Tegan and Sara grew up in Canada at a time when Ani DiFranco, Melissa Etheridge and k.d. lang were releasing some of their most influential music. In the video above, they speak about coming to terms with their sexuality and why it was so important for them to be out artists. Sara says: “I choose to be a visible minority every day. I come out every day. I actively look for ways now to talk about who I am because I want to live as openly as I can, but I also want to inspire those who… living and being themselves is a tremendous effort and takes a tremendous amount of courage.”

The band’s earlier work leaned much more toward DiFranco-influenced folk. See them play “My Number” from their album This Business of Art on David Letterman in 2000, above.

By the time they released their 2009 album Sainthood, they seemed to solidify a shift to a more indie-rock vibe. Though songs like “Northshore” highlighted some of their punk roots, others like “Alligator” (above) began to hint at more pop material to come.

The band’s latest album, Heartthrob, fully embraced pop music. Lead single “Closer” (above) is a quintessential earworm (and even got the Glee treatment). The album enjoyed critical and commercial success, and it scored the band an opening slot on Katy Perry’s North American tour.

Part of what’s endeared Tegan and Sara to fans is their live act. The sisters seemingly endless amount of tours feature excellent live performances, but also the kind of banter that could only be provided by twin sisters. The clip above shows a bit of the between-song chatter the sisters share, as well as ballad “Love They Say.” As Tegan tells the crowd: “This song is only for gay people!”

Do you prefer Tegan and Sara’s folk material or the more recent pop songs?