I Was a Fool

Album: Heartthrob (2012)


  • This piano-powered song finds Tegan lamenting a difficult relationship that she did her best to see through. She explained in a track-by-track video: "I repeatedly packed my bags and didn't leave, I just stood still [and] that relationships like mine don't get fixed, they just stay the same."
  • After sharing the song's demo with six different producers, Tegan finally decided to go with Greg Kurstin, which is how they ended up working with the Californian helmsman on Hearthrob. She recalled to Under The Radar: "When Greg Kurstin heard the demo, which was just a piano part off the top, an acoustic guitar, and some synths, basically, very stripped-down, he was the only producer out of all of the producers we talked to who was like, 'This is a pop song, a huge pop single ballad.' I was like, 'What?' It's awesome that he heard that.
    When I wrote the song, I wanted to write something like Rihanna's 'Umbrella.' Something really sad and kind of fu--ed, but something that everybody would relate to. So that's how we decided to work with Greg, because I felt like he really got me and got what I was trying to go for."
  • Both the Quin twins wrote this, with Sara penning the bridge. Tegan told Under the Radar: "There were eight or 16 bars of silence in the song - I can't remember what the number was - that I'd just left for her. She called me and was like, 'That is impossible! You need to put a guitar or something in there.' So I ended up just using the same chords from the chorus, and she sang overtop of it. That was cool."
  • Tegan told Digital Spy how the song was inspired by Rihanna. "I was deliberately writing a song that I thought someone like Rihanna would want," she said. "I also wrote it thinking of her sort of character, someone who is in the media all the time and is probably not the person they're portrayed to be."

    She added: "I was listening to her song 'Unfaithful' and wanted to create a similar piano riff. When [producer] Greg Kurstin heard it, he just said, 'That's a pop song!'"
  • The song's music video features the American actress Mae Whitman, who is best known for her roles in Parenthood and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.
  • Tegan initially wanted the somber music video to be sillier, but Sara insisted it should keep with the melancholy mood of the song. She explained to NME: "Tegan's idea was to sort of put her [Mae Whitman] in more ... empowered but quirky situations; there would sort of be all of these like 'things are bad, but now they're good' kind of scenarios. I just thought that was unnecessary. The song is melancholy, and it should be dark, it should be beautiful - it doesn't have to be silly."
  • Flashes of inspiration often come at the most mundane times, like when you're running errands. Tegan had left the house with her girlfriend to do just that when a stray line she had written earlier popped in her head - the simple "I did behave" from this song. "That's always a good sign if something that you just wrote is still in her head when you walk away," she told NME. She ran home to record it and, a week or so later, the lyric expanded into "I Was a Fool."


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