Album Review: Tegan and Sara ‘Heartthrob’



05 Drove Me Wild

There seems to be a misconception out there among musicians and critics alike that making a pop album is taking the easy way out, therein lessening the quality of the music. This is simply untrue.

With their new album Heartthrob Tegan and Sara shed their music industry pigeonhole of being a Canadian indie rock duo, and show off their ability to explore other areas of the music spectrum. It’s not like we didn’t see it coming. Tegan and Sara could teach a class in the ability to branch out. In 2011 the duo released a live album of songs played acoustic, proving their raw talent, as if there was any doubt out there. And in 2010 their fans were introduced to remixes from their 2009 album Sainthood. It could have been some sort of mastermind management fan conditioning, or it could be a lot simpler.

On first listen to Heartthrob I didn’t notice a difference in sound. I didn’t listen to the album with expectations of any sort, I just started spinning and listening. And I couldn’t stop listening and loving songs like “Drove Me Wild” and “Love they Say.” Since reading reviews around the web, everyone seems obsessed with how “pop” sounding it is. Like they haven’t been writing songs about love and relationships for the last 18 years…like they haven’t based their entire career around pop melodies. In 2007 their album The Con featured a power pop lineup, adopting members of Death Cab for Cutie, The Rentals, and AFI. So it’s not a shock that 6 years later, and 18 years into their music careers that they’d want to have a little fun experimenting with synths and leaving the guitars in their cases for the most part.

Hooking up with Greg Kurstin is the most defining key to this album. His producing credits and songwriting credits read like a long list of who is who in popular music these days, ranging from Ke$ha to The Shins and 3Oh!3 to The Flaming Lips, Kurstin has a knack for pop music. So, if he can turn such no talent ass clowns like Ke$ha and 3OH!3 into listenable artists, the ceiling should be high for the people he has the chance to work with that are actually talented. Heartthrob is a testament to that. It tugs at heart strings, it’s light hearted, it’s fun, and it’s musically smart and addicting. Listen to Heartthrob loud and proud, you won’t be able to stop.

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