Pride Anthem 2021: Tegan and Sara, CLOSER
When Tegan and Sara were ready to record the duo's seventh studio album, they were eager for change. Enough that the sisters drafted producer Greg Kurstin to help them finish the song that became "Closer," the lead single from the Heartthrob LP.
"By the time we'd gotten to the studio I'd rewritten the song, like, six times," Tegan told Under the Radar. "The bridge, as it is right now, used to be the chorus. As the song got bigger and bigger, and more and more poppy, we all felt like the chorus seemed too mellow. I'd sort of been influenced by Erasure and Ace of Base when I wrote 'Closer,' and that was sort of what I was trying to emulate: my favorite, mid-'90s dance tracks. I felt 'Closer' was more mellow than it needed to be, so we wound up co-writing."
As for the youthful exuberance of the song's lyrics, Tegan said that it was a reflection of a very particular time during anyone's coming of age: "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," Tegan revealed to Rolling Stone. "In short, I was writing about my youth - a time when we got closer by linking arms and walking down our school hallway, or talked all night on the telephone about every thought or experience we'd ever had. It wasn't necessarily even about hooking up or admitting your feelings back then. In fact, that rarely happened. It was the anticipation of something maybe happening that was truly exciting and satisfying. We were perpetually getting closer, yet we rarely got physical with one another, if ever."
Released as a single on September 25, 2012, "Closer" was exactly the change Tegan and Sara was looking for. It was the sisters' first tune to crack the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #90 on the mainstream singles chart. The track was even more successful on the club scene, climbing all the way to #1 on the Dance Club Songs chart for the week of May 3, 2013.
"There was this kind of melancholy, sort of self-deprecating, self-loathing sort of era of our band and we're past that," Tegan told NME back when the song was released. "I think we're a lot older, and we're more confident, so 'Closer' was definitely a great first song to put out for this record, because I think it did reflect a different side of us."