If the last Tegan and Sara song you’ve heard was “Monday Monday Monday,” the electronic pop of Heartthrob might come as a bit of a shock. The shift has been foreshadowed in the recent years by “Someday,” the final track on Tegan and Sara’s last album, Sainthood, and perhaps more blatantly by their collaboration with Tiësto, “Feel It in My Bones.” Whether it works is up to the listener. The subject matter is the same as ever, and the hooks are as catchy as ever, so it really comes down to the presentation.
The buzz of the synthesizers on opening track and first single “Closer” is as good an introduction as any, and it sets the tone for what you’re going to hear for the next nine tracks. The album is not subtle. It’s called Heartthrob and it’s filled with heartbreak. Individually, the songs are fine, taken together, they can be difficult to distinguish. “I Was a Fool” manages to buck the trend, slowing it down and shifting the electronics to the background.
Heartthrob is Tegan and Sara’s pop album, that much is clear. I’m not normally one to rail on production, but Tegan and Sara songs usually do better when they’re less dressed up. It’s nowhere near as cold and synthetic as Metric’s last album, but the glossiness makes me yearn for something as raw as If It Was You’s “Living Room.” Heartthrob isn’t going to supplant So Jealous, The Con, or Sainthood in my collection. It’s an amusing shift in sound, but I’m not sure it’s for the better.
Tags: Tegan and Sara