Tame Impala's Kevin Parker is watching his life slip-away before his eyes and seems pretty much fine about it
For the last few summers, Kevin Parker has been making people dance. After the release of third album ‘Currents’ in 2015, Tame Impala became a festival headliner, in-part, because it sounded like they wanted to be one. The nine-minute epic of ‘Let It Happen’ and slow-rave anthem ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’ felt purpose built to be accompanied by confetti-cannons and field-filling laser displays. It was music that belonged on main stages, but perfectly placed right in the middle of the dancefloor.
That festive atmosphere made them one of the biggest bands on the planet. The blend of pop, rock, dance music and psych-music timed perfectly with the rise of genre-less listening and playlist culture. Soon, Parker became hip-hop artists like Travis Scott and A$AP Rocky’s favourite band, and he became a go-to for pop stars such as Lady Gaga, who featured Parker on her last album ‘Joanna’.
‘It Might Be Time’, then, is where things get messy. It’s the sound of the good times melting away and the twisted corners of the club coming alive and pulling you into their grasp. Depending on your stance, that’s either a complete nightmare, or some chaos you should embrace – this new song straddles the line carefully between the two.
There’s plenty of reasons for it to be laced with such paranoia. Parker has been working on the follow-up to the breakout ‘Currents’ for quite a while, and the passing of time – both fast and slow – looms heavy on new material, he says. “A lot of the songs carry this idea of time passing, of seeing your life flash before your eyes, being able to see clearly your life from this point onwards,” he told New York Times in a recent interview. “I’m being swept by this notion of time passing.”
Watching opportunities fly by and out of grasp, or perhaps, wonder if they were ever there in the purpose is what Kev seems preoccupied with. “It might be time to face it/Nobody knows what you’ve come here for”, he whispers before realising some hard truths: “You ain’t as fun as you used to be/You won’t recover/You ain’t as cool as you used to be”.
Musically, Parker is definitely not stagnating – he’s flitting backwards and forwards through previous material, cribbing the lilting-keys heard on ‘Innerspeaker’ and pairing them with the booming B-Sides from the ‘Currents’-era. When things get freaky in the final third, as stop-start drums and a menacing siren propel him into challenging territory, that’s when the paranoia truly sets in.
Paired with already-released like singles ‘Patience’ and ‘Borderline’ earlier this year, it’s clear to see that the LA-lifestyle is clearly setting in. Life is slowing down and fame is creeping in, whether Kev can keep the anxiety at bay is a question yet to be resolved, but the future’s looking pretty rosy, whether he sees it or not.