Tegan and Sara
Heartthrob


3.0
good

Review

by Killerhit USER (39 Reviews)
January 26th, 2013 | 128 replies | 3,753 views


Release Date: 01/29/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Predominately what you'd expect from a duo who abandons rock for synth pop.

3 of 6 thought this review was well written

Tegan and Sara Quin's status in culture is undeniable, even if they are, for all intents and purposes, not an icon. They've built a considerably large legion of fans after releasing six, rock-charged albums to their name, in particular The Con, a frequently mirthless, confrontational album that spoke to quite a lot of people; they are well-known for being very strong, strange women who nurse a lot of self-deprecating jokes; folks such as Neil Young (they are, in fact, signed to his Vapor Records), Alkaline Trio, and NOFX (who presently wrote a song about the duo) have openly expressed their admiration for the band, which led to numerous covers from a wide range of bands.

Now, the concept of pop music is not new to Tegan and Sara, to those unfamiliar with the band (to those living in complete isolation), and they've been met with more and less success in different cases, but with Heartthrob, it's not even worth trying. At first they started as an independent, raw punk duo but ones who made a deliciously streamlined shift into pop, and every "power pop" album up to this point had a lot of good factors on that front: So Jealous was a catchy, fun record that used the new sound to its fullest, The Con played fast and loose with emotions and structured tunes, and Sainthood was an awfully sophisticated album that was the most summery up to that point. But all of them are simply very good releases, whereas Heartthrob takes a bit of a tumble. It is a good album in every way that counts: music, lyrics, performance, vocals, except it feels pettier.

For starters, there's no denying that Tegan and Sara, both lesbians, have begun blowing the mainstream's D at this point, because Heartthrob is completely packed with dance-y synthesizers, massive glitter-rock hooks, and some gigantic bass. It's a full-blown pop record that's sure to recall an odd mix between Passion Pit and Rilo goddamn Kiley, and one that starts strong: quite strong. Closer is unexpectedly sharp and well-used for a single, uptempo and over-energetic (not to mention featuring some pleasingly absurd production by Greg Kurstin) that is not unlike Kelly Clarkson with a chain smoking habit. (And the godawful lyrics are tolerably bland: I want you close, I want you / I won't treat you like you're typical)

After this point, Heartthrob becomes a living mixed bag, some songs really good and emotional, and some other songs quite flimsy and unimaginative. Perhaps the best thing about each song on the album, and perhaps what keeps Heartthrob alive, is the undeniable fact that most of them contain some deep, bittersweet emotions and lyrics. I'm Not Your Hero has perhaps the best songwriting, a track that falls in love with a key-heavy, motion-packed anthem rhythm and its use of cynical lyrics: this track, I'd say, perhaps breathes with the richest tune on the album. Shock to Your System and the other big number, an pseudo R&B track How Come You Don't Want Me are also lifesavers in this regard, the former of which gives the album a prickly swagger with just enough pounding music that it comes across as a great batch of invective to end the album on. Unfortunately, it's the album's mind-numbingly tepid middle that brings it down, all of it, largely because it gets so lost in its own identity. Now I'm All Messed Up is the album's nadir, lyrically or otherwise, due to its headache-inducing rhythm and saccharine lyrics (Go, go, go if you want / I can’t stop you / Go if you want / I can’t stop you, and it's adjacent to the Alanis Morisette ripoff Love They Say, a track so unmemorable it's easy to say it is memorable solely for its faux-Morisette tones (particularly in the lyrics and counter-melody). I Was A Fool is a Prince-y track full of annoying echoes and nasal instruments, even though it does feature one of the most beautiful vocal performances on the album.

Taken as a whole, Heartthrob is quite flawed, though it is an album that is far more deserving than most of its predecessors, spiked with enough personality to rise above its generic trappings. Indeed, the parts that work are enough to justify making a synth-pop album in the first place, and are almost enough to make you believe that this is just a beginning album, one that the two sisters will work on. So despite its wholly obvious flaws, as the first transition to a genre Tegan and Sara didn't need to take on in the first place, it acquits itself tolerably well.



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user ratings (155)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Robert Lowe CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
Tegan and Sara synth pop their cherry with their remarkable 7th studio album Heartthrob...

Rudy K. STAFF (3.9)
They're not unfaithful but they'll stray....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Killerhit
January 26th 2013



5209 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/tegan-and-sara-continue-pop-evolution-on-heartthrob-album-premiere-20130124

Stream.

mynameisdarthchann
January 26th 2013



123 Comments


is this even good nobody will give me a legit answer

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2013



19448 Comments


funny album cover

Digging: The Who - Tommy

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2013



49788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

GOODBYE GOODBYE GOODBYE GOODBYE


Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

tommygun
January 26th 2013



23569 Comments


of course it's good darth it's tegan and sara

Digging: Obliteration - Black Death Horizon

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2013



49788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

5 review comin your way motherfuckers

tommygun
January 26th 2013



23569 Comments


swee

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2013



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

They pull it off better than others, but the album still reminded me why I hate synthpop so much.

Digging: Shackleton - Deliverance Series No. 1

Wolfhorde
January 26th 2013



12070 Comments


Rob 5ing this?

I have no words.

bloc
January 26th 2013



34669 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Closer is good

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

ILJ
January 26th 2013



6615 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'm tired of waiting for this high quality link goddammit.

Digging: Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun

cinaedus
January 26th 2013



26298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

retarded review

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

Killerhit
January 26th 2013



5209 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

why is it retarded mang - I mean, your constructive criticism was already very detailed, I need just a little more from your introspective mind

cinaedus
January 26th 2013



26298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

lol

someguest
January 26th 2013



20285 Comments


I won't treat you like you're typical

I won't treat you like you're typical

I won't treat you like you're typical

I won't treat you like you're typical

I won't treat you like you're typical

I won't treat you like you're typical

I won't treat you like you're typical

Digging: Your Old Droog - Your Old Droog

Killerhit
January 26th 2013



5209 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Rock on someguest

Cygnatti
January 26th 2013



21349 Comments


I don't know if this is any good either.

Digging: The Avalanches - Since I Left You

Killerhit
January 26th 2013



5209 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's not bad by any means, just mediocre at parts

VisceralUproar
January 26th 2013



161 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"For starters, there's no denying that Tegan and Sara, both lesbians, have begun blowing the mainstream's D at this point, because Heartthrob is completely packed with dance-y synthesizers, massive glitter-rock hooks, and some gigantic bass."
While mildly entertaining, I feel like that comment was mildly unnecessary and breaks up the flow of the review.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2013



49788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

How do you know they sold out, maybe they just like synth pop ya dick

"both lesbians, have begun blowing the mainstream's D"

Damn misogynist once damn you're making me robertsona/atavan how could you



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