Monday, December 24th, 2012

Tegan and Sara – Closer

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and everyone went house…


Alex Ostroff: Tegan and Sara’s early albums were some of my first tentative steps away from pop in high school, so I’m glad that as I’ve returned to the fold, they’ve joined me. But “Closer” is still a little too angular and awkward and gangly to be anything but a song by the Quin sisters. Their little vocal hiccoughs and upturned yelps at the end of lines coded as abrasive and unapproachable in earlier guises, but here they add colour, exuberance and — especially on those delightfully delivered “underneath me”s — touches of lust.

Anthony Easton: Shimmering and desperate, with a full and complete understanding of the implications of dance music.

Edward Okulicz: It seems nobody is safe from the sound of Greg Kurstin these days, but the Quin twins have written a song with enough genuine horniness to percolate along to the boppy beat, which could be any producer and probably is. Best of all, they sing with enough passion that their personality infuses the song with grit. Yes, they’re a little on the yelpy side, but desire sometimes moves faster than the vocal cords can articulate it.

Brad Shoup: Hurrah for more body work! I love the line “I won’t treat you like you’re typical” because I get to read it as the incomplete sentence “like your typical.” Lust makes you dumb, and that’s the kind of drunken scam we’ve heard a billion times. It’s all about the sell here, and the structure is a bit of a plateau, but still, I welcome Tegan and Sara’s entry into the club sweepstakes.

John Seroff: Inoffensive (if sub-Kylie) Glee-bait with too-beveled edges and an aw-cute polymorphous perverse video, “Closer” is T&S at their apex of boring.  It’s odd that a song seemingly engineered for maximum crowd response for the encore is so barely there, but perhaps that’s what the crossover can do.

Ian Mathers: I appreciate the joke (if it’s that) in the video where at the beginning the screen says “performed in the style of Tegan and Sara,” because this sounds a lot different from their other albums, see? Although you certainly could imagine this song being transposed to their normal sonic environment. 

Jonathan Bogart: I’ve seen a little bit of ginned-up outrage that Tegan and Sara made a dance record, but it’s kind of hard to credit. Their music was always simple, chanty and heavy on basic rhythms anyway; why not add the 4/4 thumps and crystalline synth washes that would make it sound, you know, good?

Katherine St Asaph: “Teenage Dream” in holiday spangles and a champagne-rickety gait. It’s pitched, I’m guessing, at something other than the Dr. Luke crowd, perhaps to its detriment; I’d never wish Siafication on T&S, and maybe the structure’s supposed to simulate awkward-endearing almost touches or sudden tipsy kisses or whatnot, but Luke’s rigid songwriting at least provides a consistent rush. 

Iain Mew: Some good hooks, especially the synth scales which I am currently reading as both Patrick Wolf-y and Christmassy. They get a bit lost in production softness that leaves it all feeling a bit distant, though, even as the words are about closeness.

Will Adams: Here comes the rush before we touch. You sit on an old couch in a basement you’ll probably never be in again. The party’s as lively as ever, and the crowd you walked in with has dispersed to the bar or the dancefloor. Your eyes are inches away from your friend’s. Here comes the heat before we meet. You continue to exchange words, shortening them until you’re left with “yeah.” You’re simply breathing at this point. The music is still playing, but it’s all muffled, except for one impassioned cry that peeks through: “I want you close, I want you.” Your bottom lip quivers. You both tilt your heads forward, and the distance is closed. Here come the dreams of you and me.

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