September 21, 2012 at 6:36 pm #384317
Not sure if there are any Tegan and Sara fans on here, but thought I’d share this. I’ve been a fan of these two for quite sometime now. I love how they’ve gone from indie rocker chicks to singing on dance tracks by David Guetta and Tiesto. Their new single “Closer” is fan-f*ckin-tastic. Catchy as all hell. I could totally see this blowing up at radio. At least it deserves to. SOOO much better than most of the “dance-pop” that’s dominating airwaves currently.
Here’s a blurb of the new single from Rolling Stone along with the clip.
February 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm #384319
“Heartthrob” was released this past Tuesday and wow. Just wow. It’s an absolutely stellar dance/pop album. The album is #3 on iTunes and the single “Closer” is at #79.
Album Review from Spin Magazine
January 29 2013, 10:53 AM ET
by Jon Young
Coming out can be scary, especially when the faithful have graced your band with years of emotional and financial support, and may have trouble handling surprises that require a complete reorientation. But here goes: Tegan and Sara are pop stars.
The prospect of alienating their devoted fans with Heartthrob‘s synth-driven dance-floor gems must have been especially daunting for the pair, though they’ve never shied away from confrontation — the Canadian twin-sister act has long been comfortably open regarding their sexual orientation, for example. But their seventh album reveals the always-appealing Quins to be something other than your typical indie-rock mainstays, a stifling role they’ve arguably grown too comfortable with lately. Instead, they’ve largely ditched the guitars and cast their lot with slick mainstream hooks. Fortunately, they’re quite good at it.
Anyone who’s paid careful attention all along won’t be totally surprised. For the last decade-plus, Tegan and Sara have been inching toward greater accessibility, from their early days as folksy Lilith Fair disciples through an era of electrification that ultimately resulted in 2007’s The Con and 2009’s Sainthood, both jangly, attractive albums featuring more elaborate production input from the esteemed Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie. (Perhaps the title of their second album — This Business of Art — offered a clue to future crossover strategies way back when.)
Bright, busy, and unapologetically direct, Heartthrob nonetheless makes everything Tegan and Sara did before seem perversely obscure. It’s produced mostly by Greg Kurstin, whose résumé boasts marquee names from Kelly Clarkson to Ke$ha, though on earlier, more eccentric collaborations with Lily Allen (and in his own duo, The Bird and the Bee, with Inara George), he began to perfect the art of balancing striking idiosyncrasies with commercial concerns, a valuable skill in great supply here. The album’s electro trappings may feel odd at first, but that sensation quickly fades thanks to the smooth, inviting textures — the Quins never sound like anyone but themselves. Whether sharing close harmonies or trading lead vocals, the sisters retain the engaging conversational style that values down-to-earth expressiveness over showy theatrics.
“Closer,” the almost-perfect single that opens the album, breathlessly captures the giddy anticipation of physical contact, serving up a crazy cocktail of desire and hope as galloping beats and blippy synths heighten the sense of wide-eyed excitement. The soaring “Love They Say,” with its charmingly naïve declaration (“You don’t need to wonder if love will make us stronger / There’s nothing love can’t do”) serves as a sequel, evoking the moment when all the wishing and hoping lead to a happy connection.
But mostly, what love can do is wreak psychic havoc. Heartthrob insightfully studies the messy aftermath of relationships, showing the wistful longing or bitter disappointment unleashed when everything implodes. The estranged, unreliable lovers who populate these songs qualify as classic bad choices, selfishly taking without bothering to give back. The gloomy “I Was a Fool” confronts a partner who “disappeared for weeks to pout,” asking, “How long did you think I’d last?”; the peppy “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend” is a toxic kiss-off, revealing a wild-eyed edge that’s weirdly unsettling, as if the speaker was about to hurl a lamp across the room.
For flaming, deranged drama, however, there’s no topping “Now I’m All Messed Up,” a masterpiece of controlled tension that starts slowly with morose observations like, “Why won’t you just comfort me?” before erupting into full-blast melodrama, with tortured voices exclaiming, “Go / Please stay!” in a furious tug-of-war. In less-artful hands, these could be tacky histrionics, but here, Tegan and Sara make them simply gripping. Contradicting the notion that romance has to end in a horror show, the delicate “Shock to Your System” offers tender comfort to the bearer of a lonely heart, saying gently, “You must rely on love once in a while,” despite the overwhelming anguish portrayed so convincingly elsewhere.
Though Tegan has sometimes been viewed as the more mainstream writer, with Sara providing the quirkier tunes, Heartthrob — which references both romantic obsession and the sisters’ potential to spark intense adulation (a status they seem to rebel against on “I’m Not Your Hero”) — feels like the product of a single impassioned voice more than ever before. Liberated from the stylistic baggage of their previous albums, the Quins deliver something close to pure intoxicating emotion, granting themselves the freedom to go anywhere they want next time. Country? Funk? Stay tuned.February 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm #384320
Album Review from The LA Times
By Mikael Wood
January 29, 2013, 6:00 a.m.
There’s no through-line to the way Tegan and Sara think about romance on their seventh studio album. Sometimes love heals all wounds; other times it’s the wound itself. And occasionally it serves as a mere accessory to more pressing matters, as in the disc’s lead single, “Closer.” “All I dream of lately,” they sing over a throbbing disco-rock groove, “is how to get you underneath me.”
Yet if “Heartthrob” presents a believably irregular vision of how love happens, the album does it with an immediacy and a directness that feels new for these Canadian twin sisters, who have built a devoted following of indie-minded fans. In “Goodbye, Goodbye” and “Drove Me Wild” they trade homey folk-pop guitars for sparkling new-wave synths, while “How Come You Don’t Want Me” rides an ’80s-style drum-machine beat reminiscent of the Human League hit that almost shares its title.
You can attribute that sonic shift in part to producer Greg Kurstin, who gives “Heartthrob” some of the mega-pop gloss he’s given recent hits by Pink and Kelly Clarkson. (“I Couldn’t Be Your Friend” has a keyboard sound seemingly repurposed from Kurstin’s work with Lily Allen.) But in urgent, deeply felt tunes such as “Closer” and “I’m Not Your Hero,” Tegan and Sara appear determined to be understood — inconsistencies, contradictions and all. Juicy, radio-bait choruses may just be a means to an end.
Tegan and Sara
Three stars (out of four)February 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm #384321
January 17, 2013
These twin sisters from Calgary worked the jittery end of the coffeehouse throughout their twenties, crafting a sharp folk-rock sound that was a touch emo, but still Canadian-modest. But now, at 32, the Quins have decided to get sweaty. Their seventh album is a veritable bouncy castle of lush, up-to-the-minute indie synth-pop and blown-out radio choruses, less fussy and more whee than anything they’ve done. Producer Greg Kurstin (Ke$ha, Kelly Clarkson, etc.) surely deserves some thanks for the dance-floor churn. But the duo draw you as close as ever with their bittersweet silk-over-sass harmonies. Emotional processing should always be so liberating.
***1/2 out of *****February 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm #384322
Time Magazine Review
Tegan and Sara Bring Pop-and Heart, Of Course- to “Heartthrob”
By Sarah Grant
Whether they’re from the wrong side of town or just from Canada, heartthrobs have long been the pulse of pop music. They start the fire, the spin us right-round, they inspired Kelly Clarkson to quote Neitzsche. And now they’ve given Tegan and Sara a reason to dance. Their seventh studio album, Heartthrob, takes the indie-rock duo in a synthpop direction.
No song in their 15-year repertoire welcomes the transition more than “Now I’m All Messed Up.” The song blends the pacing of an R&B jam with the kick-drum exaggeration of a power ballad. “Why do I take this lonely road, nobody to walk with me?” Tegan wonders. At 33, the Sisters Quin are beyond hormone-soaked self-pity, but they’re savvy enough to channel it for a pop album.
The Quins’ distance from teenagerdom allows them to approach those volatile memories with deeper consideration. “I can’t live with all the things I say,” go the lyrics to “Goodbye, Goodbye.” They may be at a loss for words, but the delivery is clear and controlled and has never sounded more confident, backed by an enchanting production that illuminates Tegan and Sara’s bait-and-switch style duets. The words have plenty of room to dither and do whatever teenagers do — Tegan and Sara have the rest of the song on lock.
In this vein, Heartthrob counterbalances juvenility with an aged technique. Immaculate harmonies, taut call-and-responses, and major-key tenderness round out the album. This level of musicianship has been honed for years, from the surprising chord reversals on The Con to the studio flirtations on Sainthood so it’s unfair to call Heartthrob a departure — it’s more like a calculated step forward. And where the synths pause, a piano scale unravels. When Tegan asks “Do you remember?”, a bloom of harmony recalls. “I Was A Fool” takes a long look at failed romance through a dulcet split vocal. It sounds a bit like the Corrs, only it’s magnificent.
Heartthrob invokes somber, marble notebook dumps as truthfully as it portrays its lustier foil. “Closer” is, to paraphrase Lena Dunham, a “tits-out” tribute to not getting to know someone. “All I dream of lately is how to get you underneath me,” Tegan sings. The two are more polite than Nine Inch Nails, but not by much. The single is the best pop song of 2013 so far and the credit is largely due to producer Greg Kurstin (Ke$ha, Kelly Clarkson). But “Closer,” and similar songs “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend,” “Drove Me Wild,” pull back on the reigns of contemporary schlock-pop. The vocals don’t compete with a rocket launch or dub-step drop. Instead, Tegan and Sara sound like La Roux crossed with Toni Basil. Genius levels of fun.
Who knew that the duo had such a flavor for bombast? “How Come You Don’t Want Me” flags down a douchebag a mile away with a cocky chorus that asks: “Why don’t you want to show me off?” Declarations, accusations, and percussion punches persist on “I’m Not Your Hero” and “Shock To Your System.” If Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo were reincarnated as an indie band from Canada — alas.
Heartthrob’s connection to music of the early ’80s isn’t trite – it’s a treat. The nasal/soft vocal switch off almost seems like the album itself is engaged in a private debate over whether “Time After Time” or “All Through The Night” is the superior Cyndi Lauper ballad — both influence Heartthrob immensely. But once you start there, a spectrum of coiffed divas come to mind. Ann Wilson’s undying vocal in “What About Love.” Madonna’s vulnerability on “Crazy For You.” In the early ’80s, these pop singers (notably Lauper) were often cited as latter-day ’60s girl groups. Today, one might say this was a stylistic (and sexist) stretch. The element both eras do share is their heartthrob-crazed context: The sweeping repetitions, the star-gazing, the high stakes, the cycles of deprivation and need.
It all circles back to heartthrobs — the fantasies that come and go as abruptly as the closing of a locker door. After all, the canyon between lust and heartbreak is the space all great pop songs occupy. Tegan and Sara have known this for a long time, but with Heartthrob, they fill the canyon with great meaning and melodies — enough to Flashdance from one end to the other and back again.
Essential Tracks: ”Now I’m All Messed Up”, “Closer”, and “I Was A Fool”
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