Tegan and Sara, indie-rock super-twins, have released a new song. And it kind of sounds like they’ve been hanging out with Robyn, my electropop queen. (In a recent Twitter Q&A, they cite Robyn as an inspiration for the new album.) That’s right, folks — the new Tegan and Sara single is utterly danceable. And I love it.
I have seen some fan comments to the effect of “I feel betrayed by this new direction.” These people have obviously not been paying attention for the last, oh, three years. The writing has been on the wall since Sainthood came out in 2009. While Tegan continued to hone her skills writing catchy alt-rock tunes, Sara was heavily incorporating electronic elements. For the first time as a fan, it was easy for me to tell their songs apart. I felt that Sainthood had some great songs, but it lacked the cohesion to make it a great album.
In the past few years, Tegan and Sara have also done several collaborations with DJs. The results are “Feel It In My Bones” with Tiësto and “Body Work” with Morgan Page. I’m a fan of dance music, and I find both of these songs endlessly enjoyable. So I was actually excited when I heard that the twins were working with two new producers on their latest record. My hope is that the new producers have helped them unite their individual experimentation into a more polished electropop sound. And if “Closer” is any indication, my wishes may have come true!
The only disappointment is that their new album Heartthrob won’t be released until January 2013. Tegan and Sara were very transparent about the recording process last spring. They released a series of weekly videos called Carpool Confessional, in which they discuss their progress and, of course, bicker. Rollingstone.com also posted in-studio photographs every week, which can now be viewed at teganandsara.com. All of this information was great, but it probably made the album feel more imminent than it actually was.
In the first Carpool Confessional video, Tegan asked Sara if she worries that fans won’t like the new album. Sara says, “My goal here is not to keep our fans. It’s to surprise, entertain, and excite our fans.” Any successful artist deals with the dilemma between sticking with what you know works and trying to evolve. I love So Jealous and The Con, but I also enjoy the progression of Tegan and Sara as artists. As long as their music keeps its quirky spirit, I’m onboard.