Tegan And Sara Go Pop With "Heartthrob" And I'm Not Even Mad

All of my friends kept telling me, “By the way, Tynan, you have a mullet,” to which I spat back, “It’s a FASHION MULLET, guys -- like Tegan and Sara,” which meant nothing to anybody.

Jan 28, 2013 at 12:30pm | Leave a comment

I have a feeling that all of 2013 is going to be spent anticipating the release of huge pop albums. With the likes of Britney, Beyonce, Justin, Gaga, MILEY, and so many others blessing us with audio bibles this year, we’ve got A LOT to look forward to. This sounds like great news for a pop music disciples like myself, but truthfully it’s making me ANXIOUS. How am I supposed to properly obsess over one artist when another one is so hot on their heels?

Well I’m VERY excited to say that one of the biggest releases of the year is almost upon us! In less than 24 hours, we will be officially graced with Tegan and Sara’s latest album, “Heartthrob.”

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I AM SO. EXCITED. I’ve always been a huge Tegan and Sara fan. And when I say huge, I mean massive. During my sophomore year of college while they were promoting their album “The Con,” they were both rocking hairstyles that were essentially “fashion mullets."

It looked killer on the girls, and ridiculous on me. All of my friends kept telling me, “By the way, Tynan, you have a mullet,” to which I spat back, “It’s a FASHION MULLET, guys -- like Tegan and Sara,” which meant nothing to anybody.

If you take away one thing from this article, let it be this: Just because you put the word “fashion” in front of something, doesn’t make it fashionable. If any of you happen to have a time machine and wouldn’t mind going back and telling my 20-year-old self that, I’d appreciate it. 

But enough about that. Tegan and Sara began their career with a folk-tinged sound that grew into more well-rounded indie rock. The reason I love "Heartthrob" is because it is so unabashedly POP! In recent years, their music has had more noticeable pop influences, but it was on other artist’s projects that they really branched out into the pop and dance genres.

Back in 2010, Tiesto featured the girls in “Feel It In My Bones” and it was their biggest departure from the rock scene yet.  Next, they teamed up with Morgan Page on “Body Work” and even hit maker David Guetta on “Every Chance We Get We Run.”

I wondered if that dancey sensibility would make its way into their new music, AND IT HAS. Since they released their first single “Closer,” they’ve been promising a sound that is more focused on keyboards and vocals rather than the guitar-centric sound that they are known for. They also teamed up with pop producer Greg Kurstin (who has worked with Ke$ha, Queen Kelly Clarkson and BRITNEY SPEARS) to help them along on their journey from sad alt rock to happy-sad pop.

“Heartthrob” is a beast of an album from start to finish. I’ve been playing it on repeat for the last week and there is not one song on it that I want to skip. Though it may be a new Tegan and Sara sonically, it’s still the same Tegan and Sara lyrically, and their lyrics are what made me fall head over heels for them in the first place.  

The lack of guitars is an unexpected hit for me. The album is filled with keyboards, drums and lush vocals, which serve as a welcome respite from guitars that always seemed to drive the manic, hyper self-reflective love songs. The lyrical content is also a bit different than albums past.

The new sound is met with new lyrical content, making it an all-around great package. And if there’s one thing I know, it’s a great package.

The lead single "Closer" is about a having crush and just wanting to be around that person and get, well, closer. It’s fun to see them talk about the fresh and exciting parts of relationships, instead of the part where you want nothing more than to kill your ex. Not that I’d know a THING about that.

The standout tracks for me are “I Was A Fool”, which is one of the slower cuts off of the album with a haunting piano intro, and “Now I’m All Messed Up,” a conflicted ballad about the end of a deteriorating relationship, trying to figure out if you want the person to stay or go.

Wait, those are both sad ballads. Did I just totally contradict myself? I promise that there are fun, happy pop songs on the album, too.

Oh, and that album cover! BABES!

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Are you so into it? What’s your favorite Tegan and Sara song? I’m partial to everything off of “The Con” but that’s only because of my crippling anxiety and the aforementioned “fashion mullet.” What albums are YOU looking forward to this year?

Oh, completely off topic. If xoJane were “The Hills,” which characters do you think we’d all be? I’d like to think I’d be a pretty, beachy sage, full of wisdom and grace like Lauren -- but I think I’m more of an Audrina because I’m edgy and boring.

Tweet me your answers. Also tweet me good albums and bad hairstyles: @TynanBuck.