Kevin Parker and his Tame Impala came into life only a few years ago, but since then they’ve become on of the most exciting bands to enter my life in a long long time. At this point, they’ve made three brilliant and uniquely different albums. All three will be represented here today, and will show the natural logical progression of the band. I can’t even say precisely what has made this band so important to me in a relatively short amount of time, but these songs are full of life, depicting highs and lows we all must traverse. Today I present to you the Top Ten songs by Perth psych rock masterminds, Tame Impala
10. Mind Mischief, Lonerism
One of the best things about this band is the music videos. While trippy and lush in colors, they don’t only go for the cheap grab with no meaning behind it. The twang in the guitar appears perfectly in the hazy vibe of the track while Parker's voice has that gentle, Lennon like whisper that makes you feel all warm inside. Much of the lyrics presented are able to transport the listener back to a time of uncertainty, but also genuine happiness when Kevin delivers “She remembered my name. ” It’s in that moment though, that the music and glow around the song really come into their own, and take us to the conclusion of the song is a wonderful, full world of light,
9. Cause I’m a Man, Currents
As I’ve mentioned before, “Currents,” the band third release, essentially is framed and created in the vein of a pure R&B album. “‘Cause I’m a Man” the ninth song on our Top Ten, is firmly embedded in that world, and what Parker does with the framework and narration of the song is songwriting at it’s best. It sways back and forth, much like a relationship on the brink of dissolution. Multiple lyrics hit home for me, but it’s the pain and forgiveness in Parker's voice that makes it able to put yourself in his position. The man speaking wants things to change, but these two parties aren't meant to share a life, and well, that’s that.
8. Let it Happen, Currents
When I first heard this song, honestly, I was not a fan. The music didn’t remind of what had come before, and more dancey, electronic vibe turned me off. Not that it was bad, but it wasn't the Tame I had fallen in love with on the previous two albums. But, after multiple listens, and hearing the album presented in full, it suddenly made sense. This album, and this track especially was Tame Impala opening themselves up and rising in the world of thought provoking music. The success of the albums rides on the popularity of the first track, and “Let it Happen,” with all of it’s meandering and chasing of holes, comes through in a big way, and shows the band is capable of so much more.
7. Lucidity, Innerspeaker
Over the last five minutes I’ve tried to properly express the attitude and force behind the opening of this essential psychedelic trance of this song. Line after line has been erased. Here it is though: It simmers with all the milestones of the psychedelic genre, but it also has a new gloss over it. Parker's voice peaks through at all the crucial moments, while the sound of the guitar harkens back to the heyday of the era. It’s easily one of the best, most rocking songs on their wonderful debut, and in it’s excellence shows the mindset one person would have to have to take a gamble and make music for himself, and not anyone else.
6. It’s Not Meant to Be, Innerspeaker
Many songs depict the beach, but few do so in the way Tame Impala manages to convey it in the mind blowing spectrum of noises Parker is able to do it. Chosen as the first song on the first album, “It’s Not Meant to Be,” feels like you’re on a beach, but not a beautiful beach with the one you love. Rather, this is a song about disagreements. Such disagreements about the pros and cons of sand on your feet, or smoking pot all day. The song, clocking in at nearly five and a half minutes, wilds through lush guitar work, and the drumming is elegant and low key, never willing to overtake the song, but rather nudging the song slightly to perfection.
5. Apocalypse Dreams, Lonerism
Like a sun suddenly appearing in the sky at full strength, “Apocalypse Dreams,” roars into ears and explores the mind of Kevin Parker, and what he’s capable of. The track has this frollicking aspect to it that also renders the song in the best way possible. The lyrics, as well as the vocal harmony Kevin engages evoke some of the best moments of the record, but the real prize doesn’t hit until second half of the song. After the slow strung guitars comes and goes, the track is propelled by the drums, all leading to a bright explosion of energy as the song heads quickly into a sundrenched, mind altering field of sound.
4. Yes I’m Changing, Currents
This track here is the dozy of the whole album. It’s so emotionally open and vulnerable it’s hard not to relate to it merit and depth. For someone going through a devastating end of a relationship(like I was at the time), “Yes I’m Changing” meant the world to me, and was a source of deep comfort that it would be alright in the end. The story of the song is a familiar one, which helps with relatability. It’s brutally cold and sober, depicting various frames of mind, encompassing the myriad of feelings you go through during a difficult emotional time. The best song off the new album, and the fourth spot on our Best Tame Impala Songs,”Yes I’m Changing.”
3. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards, Lonerism
For many people, this was the song where they suddenly became aware of the majestic mode of storytelling that Impala lays out. The dinging opening, the lush overlaid guitars and bass, and the minimal but effectiveness of the drumming all make the song one of the best by the band. When Parker bellows the chorus, and various other sections you can grasp and understand the weariness permanent in the song structure. So many of their songs go hand in hand with raw emotion, of guilt, second thoughts, and other feelings that it eventually becomes your song too. It’s amazing, and it’s a song that still gets all the love it deserves.
2. Solitude is Bliss, Innerspeaker
One of the more upbeat, jam worthy songs in their catalog, “Solitude of Bliss,” enters the countdown at number two. The first time I saw them they opened with this, and from the first, hook friendly qualities of the bass, to the emerging of a big sound, the song has you in its grasp. It’s one of those bouncy songs too, which basically just means that it’s nearly effortless to bob your head and move your body to. Sure the band has naturally matured during the time between this creation and the newer works, but in my opinion they haven’t had many pure rockers, tracks that unabashedly jam out. This though, is easily one of them.
1. Elephant, Lonerism
There’s so so so much amazing happening in this song it’s hard to figure out a starting point. Obviously, a big part of the song is the fact that it very much lives up to it’s title. As a track,”Elephant” hurdles through the wild, violently and strongly pushing limits, with full sets of lumbering giants pummeling through whatever get’s in its way. The live version also has a wicked cool instrumental section that only elevates the energy of the song. The drum roll through the verses is also brilliantly laid out, while Kevin’s vocals sound as pure and fun as they ever get. The best lines though come toward the end of the bridge, making it’s way to the song conclusion. The word pay during the segment about pulling off the mirrors of his Cadillac(YEAH!), are some of the best lines in any song I’ve ever heard. For these reasons, “Elephant,” from the album “Lonerism,” is the number one Tame Impala song.
Thanks for reading!
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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