Tegan and Sara have been moving past their wordy, strummy, funky folk-rock for some time now. Sainthood (2009) was an amazing rock record. Still, did anyone expect this? With Heartthrob, T&S aimed to make big synthpop radio hits. They don’t just make their mark, they clobber it. Each song is full of huge hooks, monster choruses, and catchy tunes. Every track is a crowd pleasing barn burner. And they have perfected the art of the pop lyric. The lyrics are constructed from brief, conversational phrases or sharply described images that make sense the first time around, no need to read the lyric sheet to try and figure out what’s happening.
The same day I heard this album, and fell in love with it, I saw that T&S were playing near my home town the next night. I felt this was some kind of sign, so I made the 35 min. drive to see them and they did not disappoint, they totally killed it. They love their audience, calling them the “nicest fans.” Those fans threw articles of clothing at Tegan (a scarf, and a bra). Tegan picked up the bra and said thanks but, “I really have no use for this.” Sara talked amusingly about breaking a string, saying, “Whenever I break a string I always wonder what Slash would do. Probably roll around on the floor in his leather pants, no shirt, and a boa constrictor around his neck.”
One of the great things about Heartthrob is that everything holds together beautifully as an album. It’s not just a collection of new songs. These tunes sound like the pages of a book that were meant to be read in order. Heartthrob has a consistent sound, big shiny synths, slamming drums, and strong melodies. Any of the ten tracks would make a terrific single. T&S are opening for fun. on a big arena tour this summer. What? They should totally be headlining. In the current issue of Billboard (5/4/13), they have the #1 spot on the Dance Club Songs chart, with Closer: