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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Album review: Heartthrob

Album: Heartthrob
Artist: Tegan and Sara

Heartthrob, the newest album from twin-sister indie rockers Tegan and Sara, presents an artistic evolution for the two.

It’s not a crazy move like Lil Wayne picking up the guitar; it’s more like Madonna picking up the guitar. It’s also pretty much par for the band.

I should note here that I consider myself to be a Tegan and Sara fan. In high school I discovered their 2004 album, So Jealous, and fell in love with it. I’d recommend it as the combination of vocal harmonies, songwriting and new-wave-revival sounds cannot be beat, as Heartthrob proves.

Heartthrob defies immediate comparison with their earlier work, however, as it is more based around synthesizers than guitars. It’s very easy to imagine songs like the bouncy “Drove Me Wild” or sex anthem “Closer” on mainstream top-40 radio. At first, I thought that this was Tegan and Sara selling out, but the music has their signature feel about it.

The songs are all good, with nice hooks and pleasurable melodies. However, none stuck out in particular. This struck me as strange because when I first listened to So Jealous, many songs hit me as memorable. Hell, even their 2009 album, Sainthood, had one or two songs that wowed me on my first listen.

If you love pop music, you’ll like Heartthrob. It isn’t Tegan and Sara’s best work, but it is satisfying nonetheless.

FOR FANS OF: Passion Pit, Lady Gaga, ’80s Madonna, Robyn
STAR RATING: 3 ½ out of 5

— John Kesler

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