Heartland (Owen Pallett album)

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Studio album by Owen Pallett
Released January 12, 2010 (2010-01-12)
Recorded 2009, The Greenhouse, Reykjavík (except tracks 3 and 12)
Genre Baroque pop
Length 46:40
Label Domino
Producer Owen Pallett
Owen Pallett chronology
Plays to Please
A Swedish Love Story
Singles from Heartland
  1. "Lewis Takes Action"
    Released: January 2010
  2. "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt"
    Released: March 29, 2010

Heartland is the third full-length album by Canadian indie rock artist Owen Pallett, released January 12, 2010 on Domino Records. It's the first of Pallett's records to be released under his own name. Since the album was his first to be released in Japan, he wished to avoid generating confusion with the Final Fantasy video games from Square Enix, and to avoid infringing on any trademarks. Pallett stated that his previous albums will be repackaged and reissued under his own name at some point.[1]

The record was mixed by New York producer Rusty Santos.[2]

The album was a shortlisted nominee for the 2010 Polaris Music Prize.[3]

Concept and development[edit]

As a prelude to the album, Pallett recorded an EP, Spectrum, 14th Century. Both the EP and the subsequent full-length are set in an imaginary realm called Spectrum.[4] The songs on Heartland form a narrative concerning a "young, ultra-violent farmer" named Lewis, commanded by an all-powerful narrator—named Owen. According to Pallett, the songs are one-sided dialogues with Lewis speaking to his creator.[5]

In an interview, Pallett commented that the idea behind Heartland is "preposterous. I wanted to have this contained narrative that has the breadth of a Paul Auster short story." Michael Barclay of Maclean's states that the lyrics raise all sorts of theological questions about believers’ relationship with a deity and the nature of fate, but the construct is just a blank canvas. Pallett said, "Really, it's just all about me. All records are about their singer. I was trying to play with that."[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (76/100) [7]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[8]
The A.V. Club (A-)[9]
Clash (7/10)[10]
Drowned in Sound (8/10)[11]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[12]
MusicOMH 4/5 stars[13]
NME (7/10)[14]
Pitchfork Media (8.6/10)[15]
PopMatters 4/5 stars[16]
Slant 4.5/5 stars[17]
The Times 4/5 stars[18]
XLR8R (8.5/10)[19]

The album received positive reviews. At 2010 year end, Heartland received Exclaim!'s No. 5 spot for best Pop & Rock Albums. Exclaim! writer Andrea Warner said Heartland's themes of anger, isolation and loneliness resonate, and the sonic nods to '70s disco and pop prove ridiculously catchy, bordering on radio-friendly."[20]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Midnight Directives" - 3:36
  2. "Keep the Dog Quiet" - 3:10
  3. "Mount Alpentine" - 0:49
  4. "Red Sun No. 5" - 3:41
  5. "Lewis Takes Action" - 2:54
  6. "The Great Elsewhere" - 5:50
  7. "Oh Heartland, Up Yours!" - 4:07
  8. "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt" - 5:08
  9. "Flare Gun" - 2:21
  10. "E Is for Estranged" - 5:25
  11. "Tryst with Mephistopheles" - 6:53
  12. "What Do You Think Will Happen Now?" - 2:38

Japanese edition bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Midnight Directives" (Max Tundra remix) - 2:51
  2. "Keep the Dog Quiet" (Simon Bookish remix) - 5:26


The first single off the album was "Lewis Takes Action". It was released in January 2010 in a limited edition on 7" vinyl and includes one exclusive b-side called "A Watery Day".[21] The second single, "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt", was released digitally on March 29, 2010.[22] The music video for the song was directed by M. Blash, and it features the film and stage actress Alison Pill.[23] "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt" was released on 12" vinyl on June 22, 2010. The single includes remixes by Dan Deacon, Benoît Pioulard, CFCF, Simon Bookish and Max Tundra.[24]



  1. ^ Dombal, Ryan (December 18, 2009). "Final Fantasy Changes Name". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  2. ^ Domino Records Artists: Owen Pallett
  3. ^ Thompson, Ciaran (2010-09-20). "Karkwa win 2010 Polaris Music Prize". Aux. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  4. ^ "Lord of the Strings by Kurt B. Reighley - Seattle Music - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper". Thestranger.com. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  5. ^ "Domino | Albums | Heartland". Dominorecordco.com. 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  6. ^ Michael Barclay (January 21, 2010). "Owen Pallett’s a one-man symphony". Macleans.ca. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  7. ^ Critic Reviews for The Strange Boys and Hearthland. Metacritic. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Allmusic review". 
  9. ^ "AV Club Review". 
  10. ^ "Clash review". 
  11. ^ "Drowned in Sound review". 
  12. ^ Hann, Michael (January 14, 2010). "The Guardian review". London. 
  13. ^ "MusicOMH review". 
  14. ^ "NME review". 
  15. ^ "Pitchfork Media review". 
  16. ^ "PopMatters Review". 
  17. ^ "Slant review". 
  18. ^ Cairns, Dan (January 17, 2010). "The Times review". London. 
  19. ^ "XLR8R review". 
  20. ^ "Pop & Rock Year in Review". Exclaim!. 
  21. ^ "Domino | Singles | Lewis Takes Action". Dominorecordco.com. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  22. ^ "Domino | Singles | Lewis Takes Off His Shirt". Dominorecordco.com. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  23. ^ "Domino USA | News | Owen Pallett Unveils 'Lewis Takes Off His Shirt' Video, Orchestral Score Book and Tour Dates". Dominorecordco.us. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  24. ^ "Domino USA | Singles | Lewis Takes Off His Shirt 12". Dominorecordco.us. Retrieved 2012-02-20.