“Heartthrob” album takes Tegan and Sara in new directions


By Sarah Murray, Contributor

From their 1999 debut album, “Under Feet Like Ours,” Canadian duo Tegan and Sara have evolved in both sound and songwriting with each consecutive album. Their newest album, “Heartthrob,” is no exception. This energized dance party of an album strays from the duo’s traditional folk rock sound and easily relates to feelings of desire, love, friendship and youth: the quintessential topics of this and any electro-pop record.
In previous albums, their instrumentation was simple. From “If It Was You” in 2002, to “Sainthood” in 2009, Tegan and Sara’s albums primarily featured mellow piano, soft guitar and the occasional synth. The early albums are reminiscent of bands like Rilo Kiley or Cat Power. However, with the progression of their music, they have gradually transitioned into a more electronic pop sound, similar to that of Robyn or La Roux.
The album was kicked off with the release of the single “Closer.”  This track is, without a doubt, a pop tune. The catchy synth riffs and harmonies make for a perfect dance song or radio hit. From its initial release, the single reached and maintained No. 1 on college radio charts. Many die-hard fans were very thrown off and apprehensive about “Closer,” as well as the entire album’s new sound. Some even accuse the duo of “selling out,” while others don’t see it that way. Many fans have argued that the evolution of this group’s sound is important to their growth and the propagation of new music. Regardless, “Heartthrob” has opened the door to a new genre for Tegan and Sara, even allowing them to cross over from college charts to mainstream charts such as Billboard’s Hot 200, where “Heartthrob” hit No. 3.
Shortly after “Closer” was released, the second single “I’m Not Your Hero” was released. This single is a slower, more powerfully driven track.  This track definitely shows Tegan and Sara’s softer side with lyrics about being unwanted and vulnerable. This track continued the electronic style displayed in “Closer”, confirming to fans “Heartthrob’s” electro-pop core. However, “I’m Not Your Hero” is one of the only electro-ballads on the album. The remainder of the album is an upbeat adventure showing the fun and upbeat side of Tegan and Sara.
If you’re looking for an energized, relatable, dance party of an album, I would highly recommend “Heartthrob.” If you have previously listened to Tegan and Sara and didn’t enjoy their earlier albums, give this one a whirl. It is a whole new world for the duo. Currently touring, the duo’s closest show is a March stop in Minneapolis.