I have been anticipating the new Tegan and Sara album for months upon months. I even wrote a blog post about their new single and evolving sound. So you probably know where I was on January 29 immediately after work: at the record store!
Back in September I wrote, “My hope is that the new producers have helped them unite their individual experimentation into a more polished electropop sound.” And that is certainly the case with Heartthrob. What I didn’t anticipate was that it would be an unabashed ’80s throwback. I love ’80s ladies like Cyndi Lauper and Pat Benatar — in fact, I dressed up as Pat last Halloween. So if the twins want to celebrate the music of their youth, you know I’m not mad at them.
Heartthrob is an album meant for heartfelt singalongs and dancing around your bedroom. Tegan has said in multiple interviews that she was thinking back to teenage crushes and simpler times when she wrote songs like “Closer” and “Drove Me Wild.” Both women talk about wanting to be more empowered and less self-deprecating on this record. As a fan familiar with most of their work, I can see how their personas in these songs are more forceful, even when facing the prospect of heartache.
This might sound weird, but one of the things I love about Tegan and Sara is how their music can be simultaneously catchy and heartbreaking. Even with a poppy sound, these songs deliver an emotional punch. In fact, the juxtaposition between the music and lyrics can make them even more affecting. If I was in the right frame of mind, songs like “How Come You Don’t Want Me” and “Now I’m All Messed Up” could bring a tear to my eye.
There are many ways to find out more about the songs on Heartthrob. Under the Radar‘s website has a feature called Track-by-Track, where you can read Tegan’s stories behind all ten songs on the album. Here’s a link to the first two songs. There are also YouTube videos promoting the album. My personal favorites are the conversations between Tegan and Sara about “I Was A Fool” and “Now I’m All Messed Up.” They love to joke, but it’s obvious how much thought and hard work goes into their music.
As if a new album wasn’t enough excitement, Tegan and Sara have a concert at First Avenue on March 6. You know I bought my tickets! I can’t wait to dance my heart out to new songs and old. With any luck, I will come home with photos and a blog post to share.