Pop Perspective: Tegan And Sara’s “Boyfriend” Rated & Reviewed
At Idolator, the editors share a passion for high-quality pop. Occasionally, our tastes align. Other times, not so much! So, in the spirit of debate (and online drama), we’ve developed a recurring feature called Pop Perspective. Basically, all of the editors dissect a particularly noteworthy pop happening, and give it a rating out of 10.
That way you’re getting a full spectrum of views and we can all vent. (It’s cheaper than therapy!) The latest event to be dragged under the Idolator microscope is Tegan and Sara’s “Boyfriend,” which is the first taste of the duo’s 8th LP Love You To Death. Is the dreamy pop anthem another gem like “Closer” or have they slightly missed the mark? Read our thoughts below.
Robbie Daw — 8/10
I like what Tegan And Sara brought to the table three years ago with their foray into 1980s-leaning synth-pop, Heatthrob. And while some artists would choose to go in a completely different direction for their follow-up release, the pair’s new single “Boyfriend” finds the Quin sisters (and producer Greg Kurstin) cranking the new wave dial up a notch. The song’s intro is reminiscent of Cyndi Lauper’s classic ballad “Time After Time,” but the ladies have no time for sadness here — when the chorus kicks in, “Boyfriend” launches into an all-out pop assault.
That’s always been Tegan And Sara’s specialty: Walking that fine, tricky line between heartache — “Boyfriend” is from the frustrated perspective of a person who, as the title suggests, has fallen for someone who isn’t willing to fully commit to a same-sex relationship — and euphoria. This song isn’t any different. The duo aren’t just simply sticking with what they do best this time around; they’re fine-tuning it.
Carl Williott — 6/10
True Life: I Didn’t Love Heartthrob.
I know. The twins’ 2013 album is supposed to be this shining beacon of poptimism done right. But for me it blunted the homespun intimacy (emotional and musical) that defined the duo. So I’m inevitably disappointed that they’ve apparently gone even glossier on the follow-up. But “Boyfriend” feels like high stakes, Serious Pop compared to the playful “Closer.” With its relatable drama, gender-agnosticism and tasteful little percussion plinks, it gives a clearer sense that the Quins are actually in this song, and not just serving as upbeat vessels for synth-laden hooks.
Mike Wass — 8/10
As a number of commentators have already pointed out, “Boyfriend” flips your average sapphic experimentation anthem — think Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” — on its head. Instead of being told from the perspective of a bi-curious protagonist, we’re finally hearing the other side of the story. (ie. from the person getting their heart stomped on, out of genuine confusion or sheer insensitivity). For that alone, Tegan & Sara’s latest is a welcome addition to the pop landscape.
And then there’s the bright, ’80s-referencing production that wraps the intoxicating agony of being a side-chick/BFF in a cloak of shimmery synths. The result is joyous and anthemic — albeit with a bittersweet edge. Which is just how I like my pop. I don’t know if this quite reaches the dizzying pop heights of “Closer,” but it comes very, very close. Bring on Love You To Death.
AVERAGE SCORE: 7.3/10