A Review: Heartthrob by Tegan and Sara

My experience with heartbreak comes primarily from when an Oreo breaks in my fingers and sinks to the bottom of my glass of milk. I obviously know real heartbreak, and, although in a more traditional sense, so do Tegan and Sara. The Canadian twin duo released their seventh studio album, Heartthrob, on January 29.

The twins establish various sounds for each album they release. Their most popular album, The Con (2007), is a traditional indie pop record about love and loss. Sainthood (2009) is a passionate rock album featuring the thematic elements of devotion and delusion, according to the band. Their latest album, Heartthrob, is a throwback to the pop sound of the 1980s.

The first single of the album, “Closer,” was released in November and promised a more synthetic sound than the fans would expect from the group’s previous works. This song is primarily established on a synthesizer and spells out desire in a literal way.

During recording, the twins released videos of their progress called Carpool Confessional, and their concern for the album’s reception was apparent. In these videos, Tegan stated that the band was “starting to worry that the fans out there were not going to like all the like, hand claps.”

 “My goal here’s not to keep our fans, it’s to surprise and entertain and excite our fans, and all you can do when you’re an artist is make music that you think is fantastic, and if you lose people because they don’t like it, they can always listen to your old records still,” says Sara. However, the band’s quintessential sound still shines through the new elements, and Heartthrob has received a warm reception from their fans and critiques alike. The album debuted on Billboard’s top 200 chart at #3.

Sara has called The Con Tegan’s “Born in the USA,” saying that it hangs over her as she writes, and that she feels she can’t write past its acclaim. While Heartthrob is hot off the presses, some could say that this album is Sara’s “Born in the USA.” Sara often writes the band’s hits, such as “I Was Walking with a Ghost,” which was later covered by the White Stripes. Tegan tends to be the more consistent and “fan-loved” twin. On this album, Sara outshines Tegan on all five of her songs. Tegan’s five songs consist of both heartbreak and found love, but Sara’s only focuses on heartbreak, betrayal and pining, which pricks the heart of any listener.

The band will be touring with Fun. this coming summer, and will be in Philadelphia at the Mann Center July 19.


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