There are moments when a certain collection of music comes into your life and mixes its inspiration with the nature of your soul. For me, this is true of the second album by Tame Impala,”Lonerism.” It’s has this perfect spectrum to it. For that reason we’re going to be discussing the valuable and timeless album of my life, “Lonerism” by Kevin Parker, aka Tame Impala.
One essential component that never changes in the world of Tame Impala is the process of making the actual music. Entirely done by Parker, it offers thoughtful observations into his psyche. Does he prefer doing everything himself, or does he just feel like he can better get the ideas out in his own time and journey? It’s hard to say and while both arguments could possibly be valid, I think the end results justify the means. This guy doesn’t make bad music, and on “Lonerism” you can see a more clear picture of a musical genius emerging from the background.
It all starts with the whirling, hazy yet fluttering opening of “Be Above It.” Being the first song on any record is important, as it sets the tone and stage for what’s to come. I imagine this track being made from an amalgamation of the other ideas, after they’ve been put into a blender to make something that’s colorful and full of energy. The best never changes or diverges from its early beginnings, but rather expands in density and thickness as all the beats are explored and brought into one harmonious rhythm section.
The whirlwind, psychedelic elements only start on “Above It,” but when you hear Parker’s voice creep in over the musical section of “Enders Toi,” you know the first track was only the musical representation of going up a roller coaster, waiting for the actual adventure to begin. Parker lets the music do the talking more than the scattered vocals, but it allows the music to breathe properly, which in turn makes the song better. By the time the thumping drum beat of “Apocalypse Dreams” comes in, the listener is submerged in deep sounds that fill up a room like a light being shown in a dark field to help illuminate on your path to view the stars above your head. The drumming is crucial here because while it sets the pace, it also gives pointed motives for the rest of the music to become as good as it can be. It’s hard to imagine Parker doing all this himself, but that’s the reality, and none of us will ever be this good at doing something ourselves. It’s ok, I've come to live with the knowledge that Parker is just not human. The breakdown towards the conclusion of the track is euphoric and beautiful, even if you can sense the remorse in Parker’s lyrics. It’s one of the early moments on the album that strikes me as utterly beautiful. It just works and the full, lushly produced music flows effortlessly through the speakers and captures your body and soul as you surrender to the beats and arrangements.
This happens over and over again during the duration, but it never gets old. Each and every song has this kind of deep texture running through it, and the lo-fi production quality only helps to make a record that is as entrenched in heart and soul as it is in imaginative psyche rock. On tracks like “Mind Mischief” is extremely obvious, but it’s also obviously brilliant and thoughtful, which makes it all the more enjoyable to get lost in. I got this record a few years ago for my birthday, to this day it remains one of the best gifts I’ve received in terms of cool music.
Throughout “Mischief” Parker reminisces on a nameless woman he was captivated by. It’s only at the chorus and conclusion that it becomes known that in fact “she remembered my name,” which for any guy who’s thinking about a lady all while being unsure if she even knows you exist, it’s a huge moment of positivity and gratefulness. It’s timing and moments like this that make the album feel like an extension of yourself, and makes you feel even closer to the spirit under which the album was created.
Just to throw this out there, but this album is full of almost nothing that doesn’t pull you in. Every track is a banger, but the middle section is where the road meanders into a truly trippy section of the record. “Music to Walk Home By,” is a thinly veiled attempt at making the drums and synth the focus of the track, but again because it works so well you don’t really care that the vocals are mixed low and muddy in the arrangement. For me it always goes back to how you want to service the song. You don’t always need the vocals to be at the forefront, but Parker writes lyrics that are easy to follow along with, should you choose that path. If you don't, that's fine too because the instrumentation is pulling at you like nature pulls a helpless victim into a beautiful lush garden you might end up being a part of. To me, that doesn’t sound all that bad, as long as I have this album to accompany me.
It’s a pushy album in how it embraces the next gorgeous moment and that push helps to keep it fresh and ever growing. Middle tracks like “Music” and “Why Won’t they Talk to Me,” both work well as intermissions between the more solid sounds surrounding it on either side. These tracks are great, but to me it’s more about where we’re going and not where we’ve briefly found ourselves as listeners. Not to downplay the significance of this song and the former, but it feels like the bridge that crossed over two seperate sections. In that regard it works great.
After that though, the record spirals out in a wave of euphoria, starting with the band’s first taste of mass appeal. “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” is a monumental track that harnesses the power and emotion of a doomed relationship. Parker’s vocals are clear and the pain expelled fills the mostly upbeat instrumentation with a certain murky, unsure quality that really brings out the humanity that Parker was going for. I could listen to this song over and over (and I have), but it never loses its luster. It’s bright in arrangement and the heartache is palpable. There’s a reason it’s a massive hit, this wasn’t coincidental. From there the album continues with what has been proven to work, which is more drums, easy going guitar parts intermingled with a low but gorgeously inspired Beatles vocal style. Parker got a bit of heat for “ripping off Lennon” in these early days again, and well, he does sound like Lennon, but to me the difference is Lennon had three other members to lean on, and Parker is doing this all on his own. At this point pretty much no music can be claimed at “totally original,” but Parker has this knack for taking everything he’s ever heard, laying his own twist on it and coming out the other end with something that is as original as anything being played on radio right now.
One great example of this is the track “Elephant,” found as we get closer to the albums conclusion. It’s a thumping, heavy track that starts easily enough with a crunchy beat and a roaring appetite. The simplicity in the song is one of its strong victories, in that while it diverges to become part of a fuller sound, the drum beat never changes. Like it’s namesake, it’s driving, forceful, and determined. It never loses sight of that as a song, and that’s why it works so brilliantly. The lyrics are also fantastic. It’s somewhat nonsensical in that it isn’t a song about some deep loss or vulnerability. However, it does have the always timeless wordplay of “He pulled the mirrors off his Cadillac (yeah) ‘cause he doesn’t like it looking like he looks back,” which to me is cheeky, adversarial and too cool for school. The high energy featured during the track is a perfect detour from some of the other slower, thoughtfully fuller sections of music we get during the rest of the record.
As the album finds its conclusion, we’re treated to a song that’s literally perfect for the ending. I picture the album being a journey through the darkness of the soul, but with “Sun's Coming Up,” it feels like the awakening of a new day. At this juncture, the pain felt throughout “Lonerism” can be happily discarded as you embark on an entirely new day as you shed the difficulties of the past. The music also helps obviously. It’s slow at first just featuring a piano and Parker’s voice. For all intents and purposes, it works and the embrace you feel during the track is like an old friend hugging you after a stressful time. It’s easily the slowest song on the record, and it’s placement is crucial because it doesn’t get lost in the same way it might have been placed somewhere else. It’s still a sad track that makes you think, but it’s a pretty, and ultimately fitting end to what really is a remarkable album that I’m able to share my soul with. Thanks for reading
Whether you never understood the appeal, or loved them from the early days of "Hot Fuss," The Killers have built a career based on americana hooks, lonely insight, and triumphant music known to soar when the moment is right, I hope you enjoy this list, and i look forward to hearing your opinions!
10 FOR REASONS UNKNOWN: SAM'S TOWN
Much of Sam’s Town was wrongly pushed aside, but as the years go on, it’s staggering to see just how good this entire record is. “For Reasons Unknown” is classic Killers in its preparation and delivery, but it also has a sullen, heartbreaking element to it. The music is more uptempo, but the contrast to the lyrics is what stands out the most. The listener can feel the sadness and vulnerability bleeding through the speakers, and it makes you wonder and imagine what choices were wrong, but more importantly, it shows you to keep going and strive for something better.
9 BLOWBACK: IMPLODING THE MIRAGE
The synth vibe opening the song is straight out of a science fiction project from the 80’s, yet the song quickly moves on to a more rock oriented instrumental section. Flowers’ voice is persistent but pessimistic throughout, as the lyrics convey a desire to face trauma while also managing to stay on top of your game. Much like the bands others works, this has a down home Mid- west vibe to it, hard working but complicated to its core, which when Sung by Brandon Flowers make the emotion in the song that much easier to recognize.
8 READ MY MIND: SAM'S TOWN
To me “Sam’s Town” was a move done to exemplify their desire to grow beyond how they were perceived during the first album cycle, but there’s way more to it. “Read My Mind” represents the Killers successfully going the route of Springsteen. A track like this has so much to offer. Everything from the Americana aspect prevalent through the song, to the nervous energy of a person going on a date. It’s also a song about regrets, and how little you actually know about what lurks in the brains of the people closest to you. It’s a song that exemplifies middle america without even trying. With this ability to put themselves in a vulnerable mind frame, the song is made that much stronger.
7 MR BRIGHTSIDE, HOT FUSS
For many reading, I suspect this will be a point of contention, as most believe this is the band's best and most popular song, and while it’s a tremendous song that gave the band more open doors than they knew how to handle. It lands on this list at #7. It’s poppy sure, but it has much of what inspired indie rock kids to love the band initially. The guitar hook is infectious and very moder rock, but the real star of “Mr. Brightside '' is the energy the entire band brings to the table. Everything from the lyrics to drums works, which is why it’s still one of the biggest hits of the Aughts
6 TYSON VS DOUGLAS: WONDERFUL WONDERFUL
Some songs just jump out at you from the first listen, and for me “Tyson vs Douglas” represents one of those moments. After one hundred or so listens I still can’t decide if the context of the fight in question is the main factor in the song, or if it's all just metaphor and nuance. Perhaps it's both, but either way it works really well. One of the things this band has never had a problem excelling at is soaring chorus, and here they present one of the best ones they’ve ever written. It’s also a damn fine driving song, and the little guitar part that shines through during the second verse is absolutely great.
5 THIS RIVER IS WILD: SAM'S TOWN
Nearing its 15th year in existence, “This River is Wild” remains one of the best anthems in the band's catalog. It has this buoyant enthusing through it, even if the lyrics speak to tremendous stress and desperation. The beat is determined and forceful, with Ronny”s drum pounding the pavement as the band keeps up rhythmically. Flowers is vulnerably honest for much of this track , yet it all washes away as the soaring chorus latches on and takes the listener on a journey reminiscent of early days of Springsteen.
4 JENNY WAS A FRIEND OF MINE: HOT FUSS
For years I sang these lyrics innocently enough. I don’t know why, but it always seemed to me like a lovelorn song about the end of a relationship,and in many ways that remains true. That is, until you realize the song is more than likely about taking someone’s life. The musical aspects are whirling, bright and darkly optimistic, but the underbelly of the song hints at a much darker band than fans bargained for with some of the more pop friendly tracks. It’s an early reminder of how well the quartet can blur lines to convince you a song is about one thing when it’s not even remotely about that, and while “Jenny” in the song met her demise by someone she trusted, we are gifted a wonderful, bombastic song that opened up an album that brought the band to places they never thought possible.
3 WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG: SAM'S TOWN
One of the band’s biggest hits finds us at Number two on the countdown. “When You were Young” details the lessons you learn through hard and good times alike. The music is immediate in a way but balanced enough to still leave room for vocalist Flowers to work his magic. What tomorrow will bring, and how will we handle it is also a topic discussed on the song, but it’s the presentation by the band, who all co-wrote this song, that makes it all the more important. The song always has a great juxtaposition regarding growing up. When we’re young we believe all these things, and we’re able to trust more people, but as we grow older, our bodies and souls are forced to confront the tough facts. There’s not always going to be a wonderful man to sweep you off your feet. It’s actually a really somber track in the way it takes our innocent childhood thoughts and forces those thoughts to come to terms with all the loss, sadness and humility a person learns as they get older and navigate this often cruel, misunderstood world.
2 RUNAWAYS: BATTLE BORN
Basically this whole list is an after effect of me jamming out incessantly to this song for the last week. As an album, “Battle Born” is easily their least accomplished record, but that says very little about the song in general. Brandon’s vocals are sparingly visible and can easily fill a giant open field with thousands singing his words back to him. Also, I know drumming isn’t a thing the band is mentioned often in regards to, but Vannucci’s skills on “Runaways” nearly steals the show from the vocalist, though they don’t quite get there. Lastly, “Runaways” might be regarded as their best song on their worst album, but it’s an unbelievably strong track, and it ends up at number four on the Top Ten Killers songs.
1 ALL THESE THINGS THAT I’VE DONE, HOT FUSS
Years ago, during a torrentially bad time for me, “All These Things that I’ve Done” was a liftboat for me. There’s no other way to say this. Talk shit all you want, but this song saved me and reminded me that we all need assistance from time to time. The song opens with a soft piano, ambient background noise, and of course, the trademark voice of swooner Brandon Flowers. During this dark period for myself, I was stubborn, resistant, and in way over my head in terms of how I was dealing with depression, fucked up decisions, and various other things I’ve managed to forget over the course of years. When you’re at that point in your life, and you hear this song, you feel as though the band is speaking to you. It was a perfectly sobering experience to be able to relate to the line “You know you gotta help me out,” and feel as though the song itself was actually playing a part in the betterment of my mental health. For that reason, as well as all the others I've named. “All These Things that I’ve Done,” tops the list of the Top Ten Killers songs. Thanks for reading!
For over twenty years, fives dude from California, Sacramento to be exact, have been crafting some of the most deeply textured heavy music around. They’re grown with times, and have consistently tried different things, even though it hasn’t always worked perfectly. The majority of the bands records are represented here, and while I hope you enjoy, I also encourage readers to listen to this week's mixtape( also available on @thedeathofthemixtape on IG). now, let’s get unbored and hop right into this!
10 BLOODY CAPE: DEFTONES
I’ve seen this song numerous times live, which is where you get the real in your face interpretation of the song. The guitar parts, mixed with the drums provide that one of a kind bounce that very few bands do as well as the Deftones. Tie that into Chino Moreno’s ever changing range, and his ability to sing softly just as easily as he can scream bloody murder. The song mostly stays on the road created at the opening, with few deviations, with the climax of bass and intensity, all as Moremo’s literally screams for god to help him.
9 THIS LINK IS DEAD: OHMS
When I say the band takes risks, this song is the most recent song in their discography to walk that line. I love that the drums are really the bridge between the various parts, as opposed to the vocals or guitar. The lyrics are aggressively tongue in cheek, smug, and fed up, but again, it just works. The verses also have this sort of shimmering effect, a great mixing technique to blend the drums and low key guitar. Lastly, it's so refreshing to see a band at this point in their career and ages not slow down the intensity, instead finding whole new ways to evolve their sound even more.
8 CHANGE(IN THE HOUSE OF FILES): WHITE PONY
This was for many the first taste of what the concept of the album and sound approach might be, and it was a thrilling one. This is the band firing on all cylinders. Even the video is a great presentation of the song. The placing of the song is cool and unorthodox also. Not often are the lead singles found on the second to last track of the album. It just has to do with the casual fans wanting to hear something they recognize early on before they delve into the rest of the music, but here the band just ignores that. It’s placement is spot on, and for many, this was the song that introduced the band. It’s near the end, but clearly with this gem of a hook of a song, they didn’t just put a weak song near the record's conclusion.
7 KNIFE PRTY: WHITE PONY
Another driving force on the record, and it’s still one of the best songs they have at their disposal. One of the great qualities of this band has always been Moreno’s epic mode of storytelling. He’s able to reach out and speak about normal everyday things while touching on mythological themes and terrifying heartache and loss. “Knife Prty” is one of the better example of his style. For me, the female vocals near the conclusion of the song are the definition of mythological. Courtesy of Rodleen Getsic, they deliver full in tandem with Moreno’s own wailing spirits.
6 SWERVE CITY: KOI NO YOKAN
A song that bounces and makes you want to rock will nearly always get my attention, especially if done correctly. This track is no exception. The opening immediately sets the pace for the remainder of the track, and the overall technique used by the band plays out brilliantly. The guitars shimmer in the way only Carpenter can pull off, while Abe’s drumming is secretly killing it. The real secret recipe though is Chino’s voice and how he wails and lifts himself over the music countless times and makes the song even more gorgeously heavy and epic. .
5 MY OWN SUMMER (SHOVE IT): AROUND THE FUR
Damnnn that opening hook still gets me. I’ve heard it probably thousands of times, at least hundreds, but it never fails to get my energy going. It has this dancey, albeit alternative element to it, especially when you’re working through the verses. By then the energy is ready to burst, which is again elevated and quenched by the in your face chorus. The video also remains one of the cooler ideas executed during that period of alternative rock/ metal videos. Full of great hooks and raw, youthful aggression, “My Own Summer(Shove It)” lands at number five on the Top Ten Deftones songs.
4 DIGITAL BATH: WHITE PONY
A song like “Digital Bath” not only works outside of the normal Deftones range, but they managed to still come off as feeling pure. One of the things that the band perfected on the album was the heavy and heartfelt. Vocalist Chino Moreno’s voice has the shriek of a deadly siren at times, but also the tenderness of a true lover in others. The band surrounding him, bassist Chi Cheng(R.I.P.), drummer Abe Cunningham, guitarist Stephen Carpenter, and new member Frank Delgado are the exact people to back his voice. Frank Delgado, especially, is a huge part of the shaping of this record. Before this album, he had only been a live performer, but on “White Pony” and even now he’s a full-fledged member. The sounds he brings through his board work are remarkable, and they add a layer of lush movement and glistening hope to a sound that was, to say the least, rough around the edges. “Digital Bath” is an early example of how different this album is compared to the earlier records, but it gets even more thick and lush as it goes on.
3 POMPEJI: OHMS
Before the release of this album, many people on the reddit boards and other music websites kept mentioning this track, called “Pompeji” throughout the interviews, reviews, etc. The song not only matches the descriptions written down for us to read, but often rises above the rest of the album, maybe even the bands career, as a testament to their continued dreamy destruction, often executed brilliantly. This entire record feels like Moreno’s call to action against empty platitudes and the willfully ignorance devout through our cultures. It seems like a slap in the face to him, especially when he discusses things like “choke on the water” and “ we drink from the fountain of intent.” To say in no uncertain terms, Moreno’s seems to be speaking from a dark place, faithfully speaking.” And then, after all your grievances have been yelled and you’ve blasphemed, the ending waters in the song wash over you.
2 PASSENGER: WHITE PONY
I'm surprised how many people don't pick up on the connection between this song and Be Quiet and Drive to be honest. To me it seems obvious. I can't help but think it's a companion piece. Maybe this song is from the point of view of the other person in the car, the Passenger if you will. I'm sure it's not meant to be a storyline, but two songs on back to back albums about the explorations of driving, even if figuratively? Seems a little bit too obvious to ignore. Beyond that even, the instrumentation written for the song adds even more darkly atmospheric elements. It makes it easier to envision an escape in the night. Anyway, the imagery in use here is amazing. They perfectly capture what's happening in the song. From beginning to end, it's just an incredible ride. I can’t imagine anyone reading this hasn’t heard the song, but man what I would give to hear certain things for the first time again.
1 BE QUIET AND DRIVE( FAR AWAY): AROUND THE FUR
Best opening of any song they've made. To say it set’s the audience and/or listener to rock out is an understatement.The groove of the song just makes you bounce. This is always a favorite when played live. The video is great too. Performance video's can be tricky. The song has to be right, and the location has to be right. This pulls it off. The choice of the warehouse was spot on. After all these years I'm still not sure if the song if from any one viewpoint, but I tend to think it is. This dude wants this person to get him far away, from something. He's clearly done with whatever life he's attempting to leave. The pain in his voice as the song concludes proves that time and time again. One of the best songs they ever produced, BQAD finds our list at number two.
Landon Murray is a music connooisseur who craves sounds of all shapes and textures. He's seen over 2000 bands and looks forward to welcoming you into his world of sound,
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