Review Summary: Heartthrob: Side B
Tegan and Sara can do no wrong; even at their most uninspired they manage to put out delightful music. Love You To Death
is most certainly the Canadian duo at their worst - it’s unapologetically a continuation of the synthpop sound adopted on Heartthrob,
but more importantly it’s the first Tegan and Sara album in over a decade that doesn’t progress their sound. Tegan and Sara’s indie pop/folk origins developed over time into a more eclectic, artful sound that was mastered on The Con
but largely abandoned with Heartthrob.
The duo’s decision to flirt with synthpop on Heartthrob
did not happen overnight, as radio friendly hooks were abundant on all of Tegan and Sara’s albums, as were trace elements of electronic arrangements on later records. Love You To Death
proves that the foray into synthpop wasn’t merely a fling, as its squeaky clean production, dense, bubbly arrangements, and layered hooks keep the sound embraced in Heartthrob
Standouts like “Boyfriend” and “Stop Desire” are impossible not to dance and sing along to, but with only ten tracks, and all but one of them being electronic, Love You To Death
is undoubtedly lacking in the variety department. Harming the dynamics of the record, the melancholy tinge found throughout Heartthrob
is almost completely absent on Love You To Death,
causing lyrics about heartbreak and past relationships to feel slightly out of place on a strictly bouncy, glossy pop record. The way Tegan and Sara’s career had been going, it was easy to expect a larger progression of sound than what their latest record ultimately has to offer. Lack of dynamics be damned though as it’s hard not to love a record as fun and catchy as Love You To Death,
but going forward T&S desperately need to experiment a bit more, as they aren’t likely to get away with making the same record a third time.