As their astronomically anticipated third LP ‘Currents’ draws in, we dive into Tame Impala’s immersive catalogue to dredge up their 10 best songs.
10 Sun’s Coming Up
Dropping you into your bedroom after a lap of Planet ‘Lonerism’, ‘Sun’s Coming Up’ is the kind of daintily alluring nugget that’d slot nicely on The Zombies’ indoorsy psych classic ‘Odessey and Oracle’. With only a hint of his trademark studio alchemy, Kevin Parker’s melody carries the song like a torch into the night.
9 Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Can Control
Tucked in towards the end of ‘Lonerism’, these are six of Tame Impala’s most gorgeous, glorious minutes, establishing a lush, fuzzed-out synth motif before rolling it down the hill of psycha-delicious indulgence, crossing its fingers and waiting to see what manic assortment of killer counter-hooks, kill-me vocal melodies and off-kilter rhythms it picks up.
8 Desire Be, Desire Go
“Every day, back and forth, what’s it for?” asks the boy Parker on this blistering ‘Innerspeaker’ cut. No doubt he’ll be puzzling over the same question till Oz freezes over (or at least till he falls madly in love with a fellow lonerist), but when his attempts at an answer sounds this invigorating, no one’s complaining.
‘Lonerism’ single ‘Elephant’ might stomp its mighty feet and swagger with retro-rock brawn, but peer beneath that chugging riff and those dazzling, supernova synths to find a heart of hypnotic darkness. “He’s got friends but you get the fear/ That they wouldn’t care too much if he’d just disappear,” goes one haunting specimen.
6 Alter Ego
One of Kevin Parker’s favourite lyrical techniques is to regale us with self-help slogans he’s clearly unable to believe himself. A classic one comes up in ‘Alter Ego’, a juggernaut of loved-up power-bursts that seems to move at seven speeds at once, when he fires up that bottom-of-a-well vocal effect he so dearly loves to cry out, “The only one who’s really judging you is yourself.” It’s nice to pretend, anyway.
5 Apocalypse Dreams
The first truly, timelessly great track on ‘Lonerism’, ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ sees Kevin Parker operate on his voice like a deranged scientist, launching it into cosmic collisions, pumping it with helium and cramming in so much melody it’s fit to burst. Meanwhile, the song’s cushy, exquisite production keeps things dreamy.
4 Let It Happen
If ‘Innerspeaker’ and ‘Lonerism’ were the sound of Kevin Parker caught up in an interstellar burst, new track ‘Let It Happen’ sees him drift weightlessly into the cosmos. Things take a transcendent turn when what appeared to be shimmering stars come into focus as pulsing disco lights, and ‘Let It Happen’ soars into an alien groove so blissfully breezy you could fly a carpet on it.
3 Keep On Lying
The biggest jump Tame Impala made between ‘Innerspeaker’, the kind of record you’d replay endlessly in your room, and ‘Lonerism’, the kind of record you’d start a cult around, was in Kevin Parker’s melodies. Illustrating the point is ‘Keep on Lying’, which marks Parker’s evolution from a man with an unnerving ear for a tune to an artist with heaven’s own music box between his ears.
2 Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
We’ll never know exactly how it feels to live inside Kevin Parker’s head, but his signature track so vividly blends psychic compression, romantic yearning and golden-pop residue that you can’t help suspecting he’s somehow projected the inside of his head into our eardrums in the highest possible definition.
1 Why Won’t They Talk to Me
Rarely has solitude sounded so elegant as it does in the dextrous hands of Kevin Parker, misery’s favourite company. ‘Why Won’t They Talk to Me’ has the kind of melody you want to curl up inside and never leave, and despite being stashed in the middle of ‘Lonerism’, it kicks off one of the most deliriously awesome four-track runs of any record in recent memory. A classic among classics.