The New Tegan and Sara Single “Closer” Is Really Good

Hansen’s team pick:

Yesterday (on their birthday! Happy belated birthday, Quins!) Tegan and Sara teased us with a little preview of their new single, “Closer” and I thought it wouldn’t be until next week that we could hear it but rejoice, because it’s up on Rolling Stone and it’s good!

Tegan told Rolling Stone,

Although I do imagine that this would be an okay song to make out to, all I intended was to write something sweet that reminded the listener of a time before sex, complicated relationships, drama and heartbreak… These relationships existed in a state of sexual and physical ambiguity. Is there anything more romantic than that?

I’m right there with you, Tegan. “Closer” is the perfect combination of fun pop and their signature indie sound. I love it. I’ve listened to it about twelve times already and there’s no end in sight.

Head on over to Rolling Stone and listen to the song! What do you guys think? Want to have a dance party?

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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.


  1. Oh dear. I’ve loved T & S since the very beginning, but I really hate this new song. I don’t hear their sound at all (maybe it’s hiding beneath that annoying beeping electronic noise). I’m so disappointed!

    • I’m so torn. On the one hand it sounds nothing like them and on the other hand it’s definitely them. I don’t HATE it, I like most songs that are dance parties. But this is such a generic-sounding dance party. I really hope the rest of their CD stays more true to their old sound.

  2. i may or may not have cried from happiness when i listened this morning. the kids i nanny for were really confused.

  3. It took me almost a full year to warm up to their last album, and now I love it. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I really don’t like this new single. So give me a year or so and I am sure I will come around!

  4. I was taken aback by the electro-popyness of it all, but after a good couple listens, I fell deeply, and hardly in love. Definitely sounds like a great song to mack to and I am for sure looking forward to hear what the rest of the album will sound like.

  5. I’m also a little reluctant.. I’ve heard the live version before and absolutely loved it but this studio version? I’m not sure. But I also remember that I felt like this about almost every other of their songs.

    I still really like/almost love it :)
    And I’m so crossing my fingers that they’ll come to Germany soon!

  6. I’m a little torn about the new T&S single. When I was a teenager in high school, Tegan and Sara was my music obsession. Somehow I feel like I’ve outgrown them – which is disheartening.

    On the one hand it’s not like Tegan and Sara are in the same boat as The xx – where their previous album was so perfect that anything they do in the future will pale in comparison. “Sainthood” was a decent album, but there was definite room for improvement…unfortunately, this isn’t much of an improvement.

    But, T&S seem to be going for the mainstream dance vibe. After several albums, they should be able to do what they want. It sounds good, even if it’s not something I would normally buy…hopefully the rest of the album is more versatile.

  7. I really like this song but in order to like it I had to let go of what I wanted it to be, does that make sense?

    • “The New Tegan and Sara Single “Closer” Is Really Good”

      Really good. Like, really, really good. Really, really good.

      I love it. I think it’s great and I’ve been listening to T+S since I was 15 years old when they were on The Wedge for a behind the scenes of The First video shoot. I’m always amazed at how they still make albums I enjoy and listen to. Not a lot of bands that I listened to when I was 15 have followed me through my young adult and (cringe) adult life. I’m especially impressed at how every album sounds different but remains in their wheelhouse.

      And let’s remember, this is Tegan’s first track. We have yet to hear anything from Sara. Also, I find that their albums, especially lately, never really stick with one musical direction. Really looking forward to hearing it. You’ve done it again, ladies.

    • Sorry – this is not suppose to be a reply. But I will say, in reply to your comment, yes – that makes perfect sense. Let go of expectations.

  8. This will fit in nicely with my post-camp regiment. Which is me curled up in the fetal position, in my bed, listening to T & S. Wearing flannel.

  9. Remember when Tegan and Sara were guitars and drums and the most sexiest alternative sounds ever. Yeah…I miss that…

  10. This song is so amazing and happy – having trouble understanding how anyone could not be smiling/listening to it on repeat

  11. Holy synth overload, Batman!

    I think I like it? At least, I can see myself dancing to it madly, so there’s that.

  12. I really love this. I enjoyed Sainthood more than their previous albums and so I’m glad that they seem to be rolling in that same direction (you know, if this one song is indicative of the album’s sound).

  13. So I’m not the only one who’s scared that everything that made them unique and amazing* will be hidden under synthesizers in a giant, sleek dance-pop party? I hope they didn’t hang up their guitars when they made this album.

    *like the combination of fingerstyle guitar and harsh drums in Like O, Like H or the banjo in Living Room. I miss that.

  14. I liked the recorded version, but I LOVED it live.It seemed faster,slightly rockier with less electronics.Greg Kurstin should have condensed the song just slightly and sped it up just a bit.It’s a great song but I’m not sure I love all the arrangements/production of it.

  15. Nope. Definitely not feeling it. They have made some really scary comments recently about making more money that sound just like every other prima donna rockstar sellout. I am such a huge fan of theirs and it really hurts to say such things. I’m waiting to hear more of the album, but this song is glossy electronic crap like a million other pop songs and it’s not what made them so good.

    • Well,I certainly don’t feel that way.Those 2 girls work their asses off.Especially with touring always on the road and they support a large community of gay artists and gay peripheral staff and friends.I believe all Tegan was saying is she ain’t gonna being touring 250 days a year when she’s 45,because she wants a family.Don’t blame her.

      • So complaining about mortgages when they split their time between two different (and expensive) cities doesn’t sound weird to you? Complaining about working 250-300 days a year when most people only get two weeks of vacation time doesn’t sound a little out of touch? Throw in the fact that while they are working they’re getting showered with love from fans and getting to travel, something most of us wish we could do.

        They do work hard. I didn’t say anything about that. But so what? Everyone works hard. And we all get paid way less, have bosses who chew us out, impossible to please customers and most importantly, TONS more stress. Playing music is hard but there are many harder jobs.

        They are blessed and amazingly fortunate individuals is all I’m saying. And they shouldn’t forget that.

        • I couldn’t agree more! They’re compromising their artistic integrity to make more money and then pretending they *need* to do it in order to pay their mortgages? (You’re referring to the interview on After Ellen, right?).

          I had hoped that at least if I didn’t like their new music I could still respect them. But now I’m not sure. ):

        • OK…as a musician and music major and performer (from my perspective) their job is VERY hard. No one pays for music anymore. Touring takes an incredible toll on your social life, health, and mental health and that’s the only way to make a modicum of money in the music industry in this age of stealing music. I’m sure they know how lucky they are. I’m sure they know hundreds of artists just as good as them who don’t make money for their art. And who are you to say they’re forgetting this? Maybe they wanted to make a pop song. La-dee-freaking-da. Playing outside your genre is fun and creatively freeing. So they might have an advantage in making a dance/club tune. MIGHT. Again, no one pays for music anymore. I don’t see this song as a “sell-out” song. It actually makes sense for them to go from Sainthood (a very electronica heavy album) to this pop-synth dance beat. It’s not that much of a genre stretch, if you will. I agree, it’s their fault they have two houses. That’s their deal. But I would urge you to consider the life of a touring musician. It’s not all traveling and dining-out and postcards. It’s grueling work. It’s physically taxing. And let’s be honest, Tegan and Sara fans are obnoxious. Ever been to a show? It’s horrible. Their fans make Ani fans look like nuns at a Black Sabbath concert. Sorry to get on my high horse about this, but I’m pretty defensive when it comes to music-making as a full-time job. I don’t even particularly like this track (see comment from earlier), but I would NEVER judge them for trying to make some money. They have no job security. Most of their money goes to touring and record producing. Give ’em a break.

          • I’m well aware how much work is involved in touring. I hope to do it myself some day. I’m also aware how much work is involved in building a house. I do that all the time. In my opinion playing music is in no way comparable to the amount of work that takes and the rest of the list still holds true.

            Anyway, I was only partly commenting on the style of the song. I was mostly talking about the words they’ve used in interviews which I find deeply troubling. Combine that with this song which sounds to me like over produced radio friendly unit-shifter material and I’m worried that the T&S I love are being swallowed by dollar signs. It NOT just the change in sound.

            I’ve stuck with many bands over the years through all kinds of musical changes. But part of my critical thinking way of viewing the world includes no free passes just because I used to like you. If Ani DiFranco started talking in a way that sounded like selling out and then released glossy pop that was designed to appeal to the widest possible audience, I’d be upset with her too. No matter how awesome she’s been up to this point.

        • I’m in the same boat as Amanda on this one. As a music major and with experience in performing, I don’t think it is fair to say that other jobs have more stress if you haven’t personally experienced the work that is touring. (And if you have, I would be curious as to how you felt during it)

          It’s debatable how much money they actually make. It’s disturbing how little the musicians are left to pay themselves with in the end after the debt they have to the record label for expenses such as music videos, recording, and touring. The record label fronts the artist the cash..but the artist needs to pay them back with their profits.

          Where does an artist draw the line between writing what feels good to them at the moment, and how to please the fans they currently have, while still hoping to gain more fans and please the company that allows them to do it for a living in the first place? It’s a lot of give and take.

          Personally, what I think made T&S so good is that they never seem to let other people define what genre they fit in. And while I’m not totally sold on this song yet (I, too, miss having lots of guitars), I know there’s a whole album yet to be discovered.

          Basically, I just have a lot of feelings about music and music careers.

        • “They do work hard. I didn’t say anything about that. But so what? Everyone works hard. And we all get paid way less, have bosses who chew us out, impossible to please customers and most importantly, TONS more stress. Playing music is hard but there are many harder jobs.”

          …maybe if this is your perspective on your job (I’m just assuming you’re referring to yourself/your job in the above comment), you should maybe consider getting a different one that you enjoy more? Because by the sounds of it, you aren’t the type of person to get sucked into our money-driven society (which is a good thing!).

          My thoughts on the situation at hand??
          -I like T&S. A lot. That said, I like their music. If they want to hit me with a new genre, I’m still going to love them, and I’m still going to continue to listen to/love their previous songs.
          -In our society/country/world/etc, it is proving to be EXTREMELY hard to not have money be a goal. Should it be the main goal? no. never. However, it should be a simple goal for the sense of stability, esp if you are planning for your future (example: starting a family). I don’t think I would shake my finger at anyone trying to make money, if they’re still loyal to their original cause (in this case, their fans).
          -Lezbehonest, its awesome that there’s another song we can blast at the bar on Ladies Night. The fact that it’s T&S is just a win-win in my mind.

        • I’ve been involved in the music industry and my best friend in the world is literally a minor rockstar, and I’ll say this: I’m much happier – and lower-stress – working in the manual-labour food processing industry I work in. So mad respect to anyone who can last in music!

          And if you’re not Metallica or U2 or Depeche Mode level of popularity, you’re not really making much money at all. Working a 8-4 or 9-5 is much more stable (incomewise) and stress-free, so.

    • I completely agree with you. Totally watering down to sound like all the other crap on the radio these days. for shame.

  16. The verse chord progression (and synth timbre) is definitely a rip-off of Cindy Lauper’s Time After Time, which isn’t a bad thing…but it’s def. not up to par. The chorus is acceptable.

    …. I give this a C-

    Your resident music critic,

  17. My main requirement for any song is that it makes me feel happy and this does it, so I say yes! Though I don’t get the before complicated, innocent vibe-it seems more like a grab me and throw me up against the wall make-out song.

  18. Is it weird that the main thing I’m obsessing over right now is whether that’s Tegan or Sara’s hair in the upper right hand corner?

  19. at first i was like hmmmmmmmmmmm

    now i’m feeling torn between a) wanting to participate in some kind of teen-movie-dancing-in-my-underwear-montage and b) wanting to make out a lot with a hot girl with great hair and mad guitar skills, or maybe c) all of the above?

  20. I like it okay. I mean, I like the live version better but that’s generally how I feel about most of their stuff. It’s definitely more poppy than I was expecting, but I can definitely still hear their sound in it. It’s not like So Jealous or The Con didn’t have synth. Are You Ten Years Ago has a pretty strange electro sound… Their early stuff is pretty poppy… *shrug* I’ve got an open mind about it and I’m excited to see what the rest of the record sounds like :)


    People change, people’s sound changes, sometimes you just want to write a fun pop song, sometimes you want to get on the radio so you can get more fans and don’t have to tour the whole year till you’re 80. If all their albums sounded the same that would be boring, I love that they are constantly changing things up and challenging themselves with new styles of music that might not come naturally. These girls work so hard and love their fans more than any other band probably in existence, I don’t think they would ever sacrifice artistic integrity for money.

    I do prefer the live version of this song, I think I’ve listened to it approximately 4,823 times. But this one is awesome too! To echo someone above, it makes me want to dance around in my underwear and make out with a hot girl.


  22. I’m not surprised the reactions to the single are so mixed. I understand the desire to have another The Con or So Jealous…there is no much emotion and angst behind those albums, they are brilliantly written, and there is a profound connection with those albums for a lot of fans.

    But quite frankly I LOVE this new sound and I don’t think it should be so surprising. They just turned 32 yesterday. They’ve grow up…I assume life isn’t so dramatic anymore and I think that’s being reflected in the new music. They’re writing about fun stuff. This song sounds really confident and happy…I just love it. SO much.

  23. I’m cramping from this hellish period I’m having while listening to the whole T&S “The Con” album and cried about my baby gay confused youth. Then I listened to this new song (since i heard it was more happy/poppy) and cried some more from the nostalgia of their old sound.

    Like I can’t really process this right now.

  24. Oh oh oh!!! OH! –> Whoa!

    Well, I had to grow into the latest album, I listened to it, found it a bit boring and left it at the shelf for 6 months. Then I picked it up again and I loved it.
    This tme… I love that song! It really reminds me of the feeling of new butterflies in your stomach, the excitement of the first kisses and pure ease… Really lovely.
    So I think besides all these sad songs about love in progress or love that ended and complications and melancholy changes this is some fresh air.
    Thank you, T&S!

  25. I’m not feeling the single at all. It sounds like a watered down version of one of Robyn’s songs.

  26. I guess its hard for me to find love for this song because as much as I love The Con and So Jealous, my true love for Tegan and Sara stemmed from If It Was You and Under Feet Like Ours. City Girl, I Hear Noises…*die*
    So this is a huge leap from my favorite T&S sounds.

    I can just turn on the radio and hear this kind of music whenever I want…

  27. Not digging their new sound at all. I like synth, I like pop, but…this is not doing it for me.

    However, it has made listen to The Con on repeat for the past day so that’s…kind of a victory for them?

  28. Hey heads up! Tegan and Sara are opening for the Killers in Fairfax VA on December 18. The tickets just went on sale today.

  29. I don’t understand how you can think this is good. I hate the direction music has gone in lately. It all sounds like the same simple “pop” bullsh*t, and I hate it. I wish they would stay original instead of selling out for the love of teeny boppers. UGH.

  30. Well not to burst your little bubble,but,the better and more talented an artist is the more risks they are willing to take.The direction the music has “taken” you have decided from 1 song.

    I expect the next album won’t sound like this one either.That’s called the evolution of an artist.You have to be able to take risks and maybe fall on your face to win big reward.Most artist don’t take that risk.The fact that they are is exciting to me.What do you think a Taylor Swift song in 5 years will sound like? Pretty much similar to one today ?

    My favorite old school band is the Who.The weren’t the best at pop songs (the Beatles)or radio friendly rock songs (Rolling Stones)or heavier rock (Zeppelin).

    But they were very near the top in all those categories and then went into many other creative areas other bands couldn’t touch and did them all superbly, within 7-8 years.They covered more ground,better,quicker,and were easily the most diverse classic rock band.

    So to me the more music/art you can produce successfully that is different from that which you have previously done,is what most artists stive for.This involves risk.

    I think most artist get bored and the better they are the quicker this happens.This is pretty much what Tegan said.She can’t do the same album over and over.No kidding,I wouldn’t want them too either.

  31. I wasn’t really sure about it the first time I listened to it, but then I listened to it like 10 times back to back and now I can’t stop.

  32. i like it. sure it’s not their most complicated quirky knife going in type stuff but i trust sara will strut her indie writing chops on the rest of the album as per usual. plus who ever said writing a hooky pop song without reverting to cheese and cliche was easy?

    i’m also trying to tell if sara is singing the backup vocals.. yeah that’s why i’ve listened to it 4 times in a row

  33. I first heard them live before a Weezer concert in London playing songs from “So Jealous” and instantly had a girl crush. So i guess its hard to beat that..

  34. this song has been on repeat on my mp3 player/ laptop for the last three days.

    I just wanna treat a lady like she isn’t oh-so typical. And all I think of lately, is getting underneath her.

    Goddamn Tegan and Sara way to take my homo-sexy feelings and make a catchy awesome song about them <3

  35. I love this song, and I first heard it was live. It was so cute Tegan messed up, and was like: “Fuck me”. I really like their old, and new music, because it is transitioning them into different, but good different. They are way too adorable.

  36. I like the song..I didn’t at first..I feel like WB really changed them these past couple years..this whole albums sounds so different than the T&S I fell in love with…the song is like a guilty pleasure and T&S were never a guilty pleasure for me…who knows..if it wasn’t them I might not like it at all.

  37. I was sad when I first heard his single, but I didn’t want to let go of them so I got used to it..I figured the rest of the album would be better.

    Then saw them with the Black Keys a few months ago and totally fell in love with “All Messed Up”…I wasn’t worried about the record..Then I heard it on soundcloud and literally cried. Not in a good way..I am so sad..We lost them..They wrote this album like they were writing it for a pop star they said..Sara is even writing music for the “Call Me Maybe” girl..Then they went on 90210.
    I don’t want to have to try to make a new album grow on me and all the Katy Perry buzz surrounding this record has made me decide not to purchase it. It’s very different..I understand artists need to change and stuff, but this is just way too much. If they wanted to go into a more pop sound they had it at Sainthood. So disappointed. I am hoping they go back in the studio soon..I really love them so I feel really bad about not liking the album, but It just doesn’t feel right.
    Also, T&S have the most loyal fans who will buy anything they put out, so I wouldn’t be worried for them getting ripped off because no one buys music anymore because most of the T&S loyal fan base want anything and everything they can get their hands of from these girls. I’ve never once not gotten something from the merch table or had the physical copy of their album. They really touched so many of us and I know I would have never felt right illegally downloading their music..Too much respect and love for them.

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