In the 'Album Analysis' series, Matt examines a favorite albums and breaks apart the lyrics and production.
When Tegan and Sara went synth, most people were probably confused given the duo's past as a grungy punk band. I didn't really know Tegan & Sara too well to be that closed off to their new material, and Heartthrob become a pop favorite from 2013.
Heartthrob was very present on the Best of 2013, coming in at 33 on NME's list, 13 on SPIN's, 30 on Rolling Stone's, 7 on Idolator's and 19 on Stereogum's.
The album opens with the lead single 'Closer', which indeed harks to teenage heartthrob with a catchy chorus and a delicious synth line.
"You never really knew me, never, ever / Never, ever saw me, saw me like they did / You never really loved me, never really, Never really loved me, loved me like they did."
Track three cuts a bit deeper, losing a bit of the synth and replacing it with piano. It's still very different from the punk band's previous sound. I love the line, 'How I climbed your city's walls'...it's a stand out for me.
In the progress of the album, the piano gets replaced for guitar as we transition to the fourth track, "I'm Not Your Hero". The album, which is a concept album about early romance and young love. I wonder what the band is trying to communicate on this track, maybe this is about a man/woman who breaks up the relationship to the thankfulness of the other?
While Closer demonstrated a fun attitude towards the unknown and present of love, Drove Me Wild continues to break down the crash that apparently happened after track one. The song gives us good strong 80s pop, and thankfully cheers us up considering how sad the last few tracks had been!
'How Come You Don't Want Me', is the sixth track and the beginning of act two. It's a rather needy song, but we've all experienced the question which the duo pose as well as the feelings. The song's happy bridge is really my favorite section:
On an album that talks about love, one phenomena that is definitely worth investigating is 'trying to be friends' after a breakup. To Tegan and Sara, this is not going to happen as they describe a rather psychotic ex.
With all the songs that aggressively pull and push relationships and break-ups, Love They Say is perhaps the only tender love ballad here. You can tell this song was cooked up acoustically before overlaid with dripping star night synth. It's funny how cheesy the lyrics might be, yet how honest and right on the money they are.
Track 9, the penultimate, Now I'm All Messed Up, is probably my favorite song. It's kind of an enhanced version of the earlier somber tracks, 'Goodbye, Goodbye', 'I Was A Fool', with a double chorus punch that really hits home. I love the filtered piano and the way they utilize the double sides of feeling, I want you to go vs. I want you to stay.
One would hope that the album would end on a happy note, but it probably ends the way a true heartthrob ends: lonely. There might be hope of a new tomorrow, but in that moment when the relationship ends, it indeed plays out as a 'shock to your system'. There's something rather haunting that an album about love and the feelings of initial romance ends with the line, 'What you are is lonely'.
So is that the true feeling of a quick relationship or maybe a string of dates? The ups and downs, the rollercoaster and the heartthrob. Leave your comments below!
So two little things happened in the last two weeks: one, I'm going to be trained as a bartender. And two, I bought a 'Color Your Own Tarot Card' Kit for two dollars.
Both of these are opportunities but both presented themselves differently. I asked to be bartend, got approved through the chain of command and immediately poured hustle into securing the new position. It's not a new career for me, but it's definitely a new job. It's a part-time job I've always wanted to try, and I'm glad to cross it off my list.
There's a few things I want to do in the future, two of them I'm quite certain on: I want to get my doctorate in sociology and I want to own a bar. Now, granted I haven't bartended before. And I may hate it! So owning a bar might sub out for a coffeeshop or a teastore.
The opportunity to become trained as a bartender is an active opportunity. I actively had to seek the opportunity, demand it and prove why I deserved it.
On the other side, me stopping at a two dollar clearance bin and picking up a Color Your Own Tarot Card collection provides a passive opportunity. I put in two bucks (nothing to cry over), and I receive a tarot card collection. You don't even have to color it in if you want to.
But what's the problem here? You might already see it! In order for me to become a tarot-card reader, in order for those tarot cards to become colored, I have to work at it. I have to physically color the cards, learn the cards and use the cards.
Opportunities may come in passive or active forms, but in order to create action or change, you must become active.
Those tarot cards didn't have to come home with me and I certainly don't have to be coloring them right now. Coloring these cards has been not as relaxing as I thought it was, but it's definitely something to keep me busy if I feel like I need something to do while I watch an episode of Law and Order SVU.
You might be passively asked to become a bartender. But unless you actively accept the role, actively work hard in the role, you might find that opportunity is taken away. There are many ways we come across the right set of circumstances, but there's only one way to succeed, and that's by acting.
I talk a lot about opportunities on this blog. But anyone who knows me knows that I try any opportunity presented to me.
And who knows, maybe in a month or two I'll have colored my tarot card set and I'll be ready to give you a reading.
a good lil' spring cleaning
I know it doesn't feel like spring in Cleveland, we're almost halfway through March and we're still battling blizzards. But I've been doing a little spring cleaning lately and I wanted to give a reminder of how fulfilling it is to take the time to purge in a multitude of ways.
Last month I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Maire Kondo. And let me tell you, the book definitely changed my attitude regarding all the collections of clothes, books and accessories I had been holding onto. Marie called out all the thoughts I had experienced: "Well I could use that one day", "Well I might need that in the future", "I kind of want it'. And frankly, she read me for filth. She was right, and now I've been able to end my nostalgia over random pieces of paper (okay, it wasn't that extreme but still!) So far I've gotten rid of four bags of clothes and four boxes of accessories.
I've had to tackle my books and journals, which will be the hardest part of the 'spring cleaning process'. I've amassed hundreds of books which have sat on about six shelves and a trunk. Knocking down that collection of books will be tough, but as long as you're slowly cleaning out all the access, you're doing what you need to do.
But spring cleaning has also involved being healthier (says I, after eating pizza earlier today). I've been a bit stricter, still lax on occasion (which is ironically healthy), and instead of viewing what I'm doing as a diet, I'm thinking of it as spring cleaning too. And trust me, after eating a lot of salad I feel pretty clean.
I'm really digging my latest workout regime and I've been eating a lot more protein. I might be able to debut a beach body, we shall see how it goes. And weird enough, I do feel like I'm losing a bit of weight. My stomach doesn't feel as excessively prominent as it usually does.
Spring cleaning can be an emotional/mental metaphor as well. Lately I've been struggling with some of my current obligations and opportunities and I think I've come to a consensus about where I want to be and what I want to be doing. And that feeling is glorious let me tell you.
So whether it be the luggage in your house, the baggage in your heart, a mix of both or somewhere else, I hope you can get to some spring cleaning this spring.
Okay, so since I've had troubles uploading audio from The Killers before, I figured it might be better suited for a blog post. On the March 6th version of Matt's Gamut, I went through this list live. If you want to listen to the playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/1249003745/playlist/5tWrYCnfc6sPzEvBTY0FCU
I keep saying "I write" but don't share anything. So here we go, let's share.