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“Minnesota” is bigger than it seems. A highlight from the Courtneys’ sophomore album, it expands on the Vancouver trio’s garage-rock jangle without sacrificing their cozy, lo-fi charm. The soaring riff, the driving rhythm, and the wild longing in Jen Twynn Payne’s voice mark a sea change: In the band’s past releases, their strengths were never packed so densely together. “I never wanted you to go, but you had to,” Payne sings, stretching the first and last syllables to emphasize her love. It’s a striking moment in a song that seems to be made entirely out of hooks. For a band who sometimes seemed boxed in by references to other groups and eras—after all, their guitarist goes by the stage name “Courtney Loove”—“Minnesota,” a dizzying avalanche of melody and adrenaline, feels like a breakthrough. This song shows that the Courtneys can transcend into a full on rock powerhouse.Share