Tegan and Sara: Heartthrob
“I want you close, I want you close/I won’t treat you like you’re typical,” Sara Quinn sings on the lead single off the band’s new album, a sensitive but sexy travelogue of 80’s throwback romance and synthetic love. In the past, the group has been shockingly intimate, c.f. The Con, an album that adequately describes the scope of high school romance, melodrama and bleeding hearts. But they show that they intend to grow with their fans rather than lock themselves into the same style. The subject matter is similar but jaded, the romance is practical and reserved, looking back on what was in a mess of synth keyboards and repeated lyrics, “You never really knew me, never ever, never ever saw me, saw me like they did,” they sing on “Goodbye, Goodbye.”
Heartthrob transcends guilty pleasure, providing the right amount of empathetic material for the listener to escape their heartbreak in. There are the slow ballads of regret, such as “I Was a Fool,” which highlights the more abrasive, but original vocals of Tegan in the background, while Sara pines away her broken heart. “If you’re worried that I might have changed/Left behind all my foolish ways/You best be looking for somebody else/Without a foolish heart.” The sisters are replete with the right things to say to someone searching for what they want in life and out of a relationship.
Heartthrob is optimistic music to cry into your pillow. There are no acoustic guitars to make it easily repeatable, but the guitar work and keyboards elevate what could be deemed tailor-made hipster music to an important journal entry. The chorus builds and rocks the rest of the song, with a subdued, but bombastic vocal performance that is melancholy. This album deserves attention outside of the typical scenester that has loyally followed the band because Tegan and Sara has avoided falling into the trend that was “emo” music and emerged as a force in indie pop.