Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob
Record Label: Warner Bros.
Release Date: January 29th, 2013
Canadian indie duo Tegan and Sara have been making quite a name for themselves in the indie world, especially in the last six years or so. Twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin have been releasing music for quite some time, but 2007’s The Con really brought them success that they’ve deserved. While 2013’s Heartthrob is my first impression of the band, this is a great place to start. The most interesting thing is, however, this is their poppiest record to date. That’s not a bad thing, either. I’m a sucker for indie-pop/pop, and my two favorite artists are pop musicians, actually – Justin Timberlake and Patrick Stump (his solo material). I have nothing against pop music, and this is the kind of indie-pop/pop music that I absolutely go insane for. The thing I like about this most, though, are the lyrics. The music itself is nice, and quite interesting at a lot of points, but it’s not terrible unique or ambitious. It’s pretty straightforward indie-pop, but the lyrics are the main driving force of this record. As the title implies, Heartthrob is about love, and love as in relationships and romantic love. However, there are a lot of different themes that relate to love on here; some songs deal with falling in love, falling out of love, trying to find love, escaping love, and everything in between. If you’re a hopeless romantic, this is a record for you. As someone who has been “in love,” out of love, hurt, happy, and all of those feelings attached to love, this record does hit me “right in the feels,” as the saying goes. The most interesting thing is the title itself – Heartthrob’s main theme is what the title suggests – being absolutely infatuated with someone to the point of feeling as though you are in love, and having to deal with the fact that person doesn’t feel the same way. Despite that, the record does deal with love, and it’s almost like a story, to some degree. The songs seem to be placed in the right way, as in they fit together perfectly, like they all cohesively flow together.
With that being said, the record begins with “Closer,” which is the first single that was released in 2012. This song is a great opening for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it really showcases their new sound, and it also a familiar song, so going into it, you already have a sense of familiarity, which does make it easier to start if you’re skeptical at least. This song also is a nice opening track because it does sum up their sound quite nicely – very catchy, and infectious indie-pop. The lyrics on here deal with new love, and that feeling of wanting to be close to them constantly, like you don’t want to be separated from them. It’s a very infectious song, and one of the catchiest on the record. That’s not say there aren’t more catchy songs, because every song does have a very nice hook, but some do stick out more than others, “Closer” being one of them. Next track “Goodbye, Goodbye” is another example of this, too. This song has a very nice hook that makes this song rather memorable. Lyrically, it’s not fantastic, but it’s one of the more negative songs, so it’s nice they put a sadder song next to the more optimistic one. It puts perspective into it. The next couple tracks are also a bit sad as well; “I Was a Fool” has the Quin sisters saying they were fools for love, and I think we all can relate to that line. It’s one of the more somber songs on the album, too, which is hard to achieve because it’s a very poppy record. The same goes with “I’m Not Your Hero,” because it’s got a very somber sound, but it’s still catchy.
Next track “Drove Me Wild” is pretty much the sequel to “Closer,” in the sense that it’s also a rather optimistic track, about new love and that feeling of just being absolutely in ecstasy with someone. This song is nice, and one of the catchiest, but not the best, either. Of course, though, they move to a much more pessimistic track in the form of “How Come You Don’t Want Me,” and that title alone suggests that it’s not a very happy song. It’s also one of the catchiest, too. I love the chorus on it. There are a few sappier songs on the record, however, and one of those songs appears towards the end of the record, which is in the form of “Love They Say.” This is a song that’s about how love conquers all, essentially. That’s the basic idea, and it’s a very sweet song. It’s my favorite track on the record, because it’s one of the few guitar-driven tracks. After that song, there’s only a couple more, and I must say, I’m rather disappointed in how the album ended. The song “Shock to Your System” is the last track, and while it continues the nice indie-pop that we’ve been hearing the whole 36 minutes, it doesn’t do anything for me. It leaves me wanting more, but not in a good way. When a record leaves me wanting more, it leaves me wanting more new music, and to listen to the record more, but I feel as though Heartthrob ended on a very weak note, because the last song does not feel like a closing track to me. On most records, the closing track seems very fitting, but this album doesn’t feel like that to me. It’s definitely lacking that, and while that’s not a terrible thing, it just feels like it ends without any kind of closure. Either way, the record is wonderful. It’s a very nice 36-minute indie-pop / synth-pop record. Some of these songs you could certainly find during the 80s, when pop music really took off. The main thing I enjoy about it, as I mentioned earlier, are the lyrics, because they are very relatable, but not too cheesy. In fact, they’re not cheesy at all. The ideas and the concepts aren’t too unique, but they make up for it with the overall music, and the clever lyrics as well. People may be turned off by the very straightforward indie-pop / synth-pop, but I’d give it a chance, because it has a lot of substance to it.