Tegan and SaraJudging by the number of ‘sell-out’ accusations hurled at Canadian twin sister duo Tegan and Sara’s seventh studio album, you’d expect Heartthrob to be wall-to-wall with brainless sub-Guetta ‘fun in the club’ Eurodance. Having hooked up with producer Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Pink), there is undeniably a more polished sheen to their affectionate homage to 80s synth-pop. But the Quin siblings’ sound has always been more hook-laden than a pirate convention, whilst in amongst the obvious bids for hits, there’s still the same kind of melancholy, vulnerability and ‘love is a battlefield’ themes that have characterised their previous hipster-friendly fare. Here’s a look at five of its best lessons in love.


Tegan and SaraIf naff 80s fantasy comedy Mannequin ever gets the remake treatment, here’s the most obvious candidate for its theme. Channelling the FM radio pop of Starship’s commercial heyday, not to mention the forceful vocal style of Grace Slick, “Closer” recalls their high-school days where merely the anticipation of lust was enough to get them hot under the collar. But although there’s talk of ‘making things physical,’ this ode to teenage sexual desires is a strictly PG-13 affair: [LISTEN]

All you think of lately is getting underneath me
All I’m dreaming lately is how to get you underneath me
Here comes the heat before we meet a little bit closer
Here comes the spark before the dark, come a little closer

Drove Me Wild

Tegan and SaraDragonette, Ladyhawke, Niki & The Dove – the pulsing new wave-pop of “Drove Me Wild” could be mistaken for any one of the number of female-fronted synth-poppers seemingly stuck in an 80s time warp. But its theme is pure Tegan and Sara as the former reminisces about the time when her over-eagerness deterred a potential soulmate with the same kind of nostalgic gusto that most would reserve for a two-sided romance that actually existed: [LISTEN]

You carried romance in the palm of your hand 
You called the plays for us
You clung to self restraint, you followed the plan 
You put the brakes on this
And it drove me and it drove me and it drove me wild
And it drove me and it drove me and it drove me wild

Love They Say

Tegan and SaraTaken out of context, “Love They Say” is even more likely to horrify their long-time fans, with its acoustic soft-rock sound and a string of love-heart sentiments that even Hallmark would probably pass on. However, their rather belated bid to appear on a Dawson’s Creek soundtrack is in fact a concerted attempt to render all the love song clichés meaningless by accumulating them into one giant ball of schmaltz. And yet somehow, it still all sounds completely and utterly sincere: [LISTEN]

Love, they say, it heals all wounds, 
Love removes the hurt in you 
Love, I know that this is true
Love, they say that it is blind 
Love, they say it all the time
Love, I know that they are right
Love, they say this 

How Come You Don’t Want Me

Tegan and SaraOne of the more refreshing aspects of Tegan and Sara’s confessional nature is that they’re never afraid to present themselves in all their less glamorous tear-stained and snotty-tissued glory. Take the shimmering electro of “How Come You Don’t Want Me,” which sees Sara virtually beg her wayward other half to pay her more respect than she does in a slightly undignified manner which suggests that her jealousy-fuelled pleas will fall on deaf ears: [LISTEN]

I can’t say that I’m sorry
For loving you and hating myself
I’ve nothing to show you
I’ve nothing to hold you down
It’s killing me to walk away

I Was A Fool

Tegan and SaraThe kind of gorgeous dreamy synth-pop that invalidates all the vitriol aimed at their change in direction, the harmony-laden “I Was A Fool” is undoubtedly the most affecting out of the record’s several tales of obsessive love. Indeed, you can almost hear the whoops and cheers when after years of blaming themselves and their rose-tinted attitude to The Big L for the fact they’re stuck in a dead-end relationship, the pair decide to grow a backbone and finally walk away: [LISTEN]

Then you blamed me and blocked me out 
How long did you think I’d last? 
Then you disappeared for weeks to pout 
How many times could I pack? 
But stand still is all I did. 
Love like ours just never fits