NPR logo How to Tell Tegan and Sara Apart

How to Tell Tegan and Sara Apart

Hop a Plane

  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "Hop a Plane"
  • Artist: Tegan and Sara
  • CD: The Con
  • Genre: Pop-Rock

"Hop a Plane" fuses the disparate styles of sisters Tegan and Sara Quin. courtesy of Tegan and Sara hide caption

toggle caption
courtesy of Tegan and Sara

Spend enough time with Tegan and Sara Quin, live and on record, and the differences in their styles eventually become clear. It can even be a bit of a parlor game to sit down with a new album and try to guess which song comes from which sister without checking the liner notes first. Heart-on-the-sleeve confessionals set against pop craftsmanship? Score one for Tegan. Abstract lyrics with a modular structure? Check for Sara's fingerprints.

"Hop a Plane" bridges the two approaches, as if they arranged a Tegan song like it was one of Sara's. It's propulsive and melodic, with a sure-footed sense of pop structure, and lines like the refrain "All I want to hear is that you're not mine" place it in the subgenre of pop songs built around the theme, "Hope is killing me."

At the same time, there almost always seems to be one piece that just doesn't fit at any given moment, whether it's the drums that don't quite keep the beat, the bass that jumps at a different rhythm, or the guitars that go off in 20 directions at once. The instruments wander through the song as if they're trying to figure out the right combination until the chorus, where everything comes together. That's how you know it's one of Tegan's. Probably.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Purchase Featured Music


Purchase Music

Buy Featured Music

Tegan and Sara

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?