Psychedelic album lives up to hype
It’s been five years since we heard a full project from Tame Impala. His 2015 cult-favorite album Currents introduced me to the psychedelic rock genre. Its influence smothered not only pop music, but hip-hop as well. Genius even calls Tame Impala “rap’s favorite rock band”.
Tame Impala performs as a band, but all writing, vocals, instrumentation and production comes from Australian singer Kevin Parker.
The Slow Rush opens with One More Year, a mysterious track that entices listeners to hear the rest of the album. The chopped and panned vocal sample reminds me of a technique used in ilomilo by Billie Eilish.
I can confidently say that Borderline is my all-time favorite Tame Impala song. I was so hooked on the song when it first released last April, and I was surprised that the album version was more of a remix. Parker added new bouncy bass lines and some sick sound effects. The chords and lyrics collide to create an atmosphere reminiscent of the perfect party. This song is addicting; I can’t get enough.
“I was so in my own head about the song,” Parker tells NME. “The way I describe it is the way it sounds now is the way I was hearing it when I released it the first time. So for me, the drums sounded just heaps more hard-hitting. It was just things that I could hear in the song that I didn’t realize no one else could.
“For example, the bass line,” Parker continued, “which was just kind of an example of lack of perspective when you’re working on a song, or anything that anyone’s working on ever. You lose perspective when you’re working on it, which is good, too, it’s kind of beautiful that you have no idea what you’re doing.”
Posthumous Forgiveness was definitely a weirder tune that I didn’t enjoy at first. The lead guitar line sounds a lot like Redbone by Childish Gambino. After listening to it within the context of the album, I had a greater appreciation for it. The song features Parker speaking on his late father, who he had a strained relationship with after his parents’ early divorce. At the 2:56 mark, some mind-blowing synth tie the song together. Then, the six-minute song is split in two.
The second half of Posthumous Forgiveness is significantly more melancholy. He explains that he just wants to show his father all his successes, because of how proud it would make him. These lyrics could dampen anyone’s spirit, but they were woven together with skilled creativity.
To learn more about Tame Impala’s creative process, check out Vice‘s interview with him in the following tweet.
The man behind Tame Impala shares the long and strange journey behind his latest album. https://t.co/Yk1dBLYpa9
— VICE (@VICE) February 19, 2020
On Spotify, Parker explains Breathe Deeper is most influenced by Mariah Carey, The Neptunes and Pharrell, and his first time doing ecstasy. I picked out all these influences and it comes together to make something really fun and upbeat.
Q Magazine describes the song as “An album track that sums up Kevin Parker’s approach on the brilliant new Tame Impala, fusing spacey synths, throbbing house pianos and shuffling beats with the frontman’s dreamy melodies.”
Tomorrow’s Dust begins with a more unique sound than the predictable feel. It starts out on an acoustic guitar, but soon returns to the familiar synth sounds and groovy piano chords. This song fades into the playlist as recognized notes return to the listener’s ears.
On Track is an optimistic outlook about someone dusting themselves off after a hard fall. This song is much slower than other tracks, but is still a great listen. Parker explains the lyrics on Apple Music.
“A song for the eternal optimist,” Parker says. “The pain of holding on to your dreams. Anyone would say it’s impossible from this point. True it will take a miracle, but miracles happen all the time. I’m veering all over the road and occasionally spinning out of control, but strictly speaking I’m still on track.”
Is It True is another one of my favorites. This funky dance song is guaranteed to make you bob your head in approval. I can see myself dancing to these bass lines for quite a while. There are some synth sounds that appear at the end that remind me a lot of Flower Boy by Tyler, the Creator.
The prog-rock inspired It Might Be Time is a fun jam as well. The explosive chorus and massive drums allow it to stand out as a dance-worthy hit.
Glimmer is a great addition to the album. It is a short two-minute interlude that preludes One More Hour, starting with a clip of a podcast Parker was listening to. He claims he doesn’t know why he added it, but it seems to be a parody as he pokes fun of the previous song’s production.
While the album starts with One More Year, ‘The Slow Rush’ concludes with a 7-minute outro featuring the song One More Hour. The lyrics are highly existential as Parker takes time to lean back and examine his life as a whole. This is the perfect track to conclude this album.
I highly recommend actively listening to this album start to finish in one sitting, especially if you are into creative sounds.
This album is fun, creative, and personal. It makes a great addition to Kevin Parker’s impressive discography and I can’t wait to see these songs performed live.
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