Published Feb 12, 2013For a record that kicks off with a song called "Closer," Tegan and Sara's seventh effort has a fair amount of distance. Throughout, the Calgary, AB-born twins look back on past relationships from afar while using a shiny, multi-layered sonic template. The title implies childish fantasies, though the sisters' grown-up, real-world experiences have evidently offered just as many unrealistic expectations. And therein is the album's primary asset: it playfully uses '80s synths and other sparkly instrumentation to create a compelling push-pull dynamic with often-personal narratives. It's simultaneously immediate and removed. (Warner)
Heartthrob seems fitting, both as a noun and verb.
Tegan: Sara and I really struggled over what to call the record. I sent her my list of six favourites and Heartthrob was in there. She wrote this massive email in two seconds [saying], "I love the literal [meaning], the idea of a heart throbbing. I love the idea that it's a word associated with males that we're appropriating for ourselves. I love the idea that this record is about pining for someone who you put on a pedestal, so we create heartthrob status in people we're interested in."
Sara has talked about having a crush on a New Kid on the Block, maybe Joey.
Yeah, she's still obsessed with Joey.
And how absurd that seemed to her as a grownup gay woman. Also, that it was just an odd, non-sexual, childhood fantasy.
Sure, we talk about it all the time; we were really obsessed with boys. It wasn't until later in life that it was like, 'oh we wanted to be them.' We didn't necessarily want to be with them.
A heartthrob is someone you don't know, though the record draws on some very personal experiences.
Now I have so much experience: a decade-plus of love to look back on. To me, what became really fascinating was the [time] before relationships, just that passion and that excitement, that flame, which we don't often document because we're so high on the drug of being in love. It was really exciting to look back to those kinds of relationships. At the same time, Sara went back to a different era and reflected more on the darker side of that.
At 36 minutes long, it's a sonically dense album.
Eight of the ten songs on the record we worked with Greg Kurstin; I love his production style. I loved that he wanted to just layer the shit out of the songs. I was like, "don't hold back. Let's make the biggest, lushest, most melodic record we possibly can." I wanted it to sound like a mountain of sound.
And you're not going to make a record like Under Feet Like Ours for years and years and years.
No! I don't even know if I would know how. I recently went back and listened to our whole history chronologically, because people were asking so much about it and saying these crazy, almost hyperbolic statements about, "Where are Tegan and Sara?" and "What a huge departure for you." I was like, "Is it? Am I off my fucking rocker? Am I out to lunch?" We've always, always, always done something different with each new record. I think that this one, sonically, is absolutely a punch in the face. It's a big record, but why not? I don't think it's "Where are Tegan and Sara?" Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? We're still here.
Did you just make a Carmen Sandiego reference?
Yeah. We talk about Carmen Sandiego a lot.