Notes on Tegan and Sara’s Heartthrob:

Embarrassing admission: I’d heard very little of this duo before two weeks ago, so I can’t be among the throngs who’re claiming they’re “selling out.”  Selling out from where and into what?  My gut instinct is to prefer their spikier sounding 2009 record to their new one, but truthfully, their new one improved dramatically after listening to the old one.  And perusing the more generalized lyrics (nothing as startling as “I’ve got grounds for divorce”) leads me to believe they’re aiming this toward their “core” audience — not just the LGBT crowd, but more importantly the indie rock crowd, both of whom can get cranky when one of theirs goes mainstream (c.f. Ani Difranco in the case of the former, as for the latter, uh, take your fucking pick).  Must be tough for them to make this kind of record when everyone wants them to make something else.  

I’ll go through this one song by song.

Closer: A great deal more clever than my first impression.  ”It’s not just all physical/I’m the type who will get oh so critical/So let’s make things physical/I won’t treat you like you’re oh so typical” is a pretty good rationalization for a new lover or listener.  I also was taken by the open-ended sexuality of “All you think of lately is getting underneath me/All I’m dreaming lately is how to get you underneath me,” which can, as they say, go so many ways.  Woman on top of woman, woman on top of man, both pretty brazen.

Goodbye, Goodbye: A farewell to their old audience. They have an older, unreleased song called “Goodbye” that goes: “I’m in the army of/Sell out, shut up, go home/Make your money/When you’re dead and gone.”  The key line in this song is “You never really knew me, never ever/Never ever saw me, saw me like they did.”  

Fool For Love: “If you’re worried that I might’ve changed/Left behind all of my foolish ways/You best be looking for somebody else.”  Great melody here.

I’m Not Your Hero: The theme gets explicit: “I’m not their hero/But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t brave/I never walked the party line/Doesn’t mean that I was never afraid/I’m not your hero/But that doesn’t mean we’re not one and the same.”

Drive Me Wild: Great song.  The lyrics on this record often strike me as too generalized, but this line is bliss: “Your arms outstretched, your hair cut shorter than it’d been.”  That’s a woman’s hair she’s talking about, but not so that she’s being obvious about it.  Wonderful little detail.

How Come You Don’t Want me Now: “One day soon/I will be the one to insult you.”   

I Couldn’t be Your Friend: “…even if I tried again.”

Love They Say: “This love will make us worthy.”

Shock to your System: “What you are is lonely.”