Emote With Me: Tame Impala’s “Currents”

Image courtesy of Consequence of Sound

Tame Impala. What can I say about Tame Impala that… will add to your experience?

They’re Aussies, they’re incredibly musically talented, they’re hippies, the frontman is a total babe… If that doesn’t pique your interest enough, maybe the fact that this third album is all about breaking up and finding yourself will be incentive. The Universal emotions we all experience: despair, longing, loneliness, love.

Instead of boring you with my own commentary, let’s go through this breakup with Kevin Parker, track-by-track, as we do.

Currents
released 17 July 2015

1. Let It Happen – I’ve talked about this one plenty, and I wanted to include it in my musicXtherapy series since it is so therapeutic on its own. Longer than what my normal threshold can take, but when shit is this good, how can I deny it? In the context of this album, it makes so much sense. In the beginning of a relationship, many people will just say to “let it happen (naturally).” Is that not what this is? Soulful and joyous… all-consuming, is this track… what a perfect, perfect opener. Bravo.

2. Nangs – What a gorgeous transition. I feel like Tame Impala really knows how to complete a thought and make it translate so well. Apparently this is an Aussie slang term for what Americans know as “whippets,” or sucking down some NO – nitrous oxide. Gets you HIGH (even though I’ve never done that personally. Honestly. I’m so damn paranoid when it comes to mind-altering substances. Music is my drug.) That high translates. I get lost in all minute-plus of this and want more. How appropriate, then, that the resounding phrase is, “But is there something more than that?” Commentary on how we seek things artificially through substances or experiences. Love love.

3. The Moment – What a fantastic driving melodic line! The lyrics are speaking to being, quite appropriately, in the moment. In the moment with a person, in a moment with yourself, being present in whatever is going on around you. It’s getting out of your bubble and being uncomfortable with the uncertain. Who hasn’t felt uncomfortable not knowing what’s outside of what you already know? Thank you, Kevin Parker.

4. Yes I’m Changing – I shit you not, the first time I heard this I bawled. Heartbreaking and honest, this track cut me to the core. “Yes, I’m changing. Yes, I’m gone. Yes, I’m older. Yes, I’m moving on…” — “They say people never change, but that’s bullshit…” — “There’s a world out there and it’s calling my name, and it’s calling yours, girl, it’s calling yours, too…” Seriously, y’all. If you don’t cry while listening to this, then you’re heartless you haven’t been in love and fallen out or had to let it go. Maybe that’s a good thing! But I feel like it’s essential to the human experience. It’s a delicate process, and the instrumentation, the soft vocals, reflect that so perfectly. It’s not hate, it’s not rage (as also expressed in the lyrics)… it’s a sense of loss and wanting the best for you both. Excuse me while I go cry over some coffee and nicotine.

5. Eventually – SO STUCK in my head. Can’t get it out! The emotions are carried from Yes I’m Changing to this track, but the feel is different. This is the hard part, let’s call it off, but let’s look at how this will benefit us down the road and stop focusing on the hard part right. “I know that I’ll be happier, and I know you will, too… eventually.” Ever felt like if you hadn’t met that life would be easier by not having to go through the dissolution? I know I have! Who knows how this all went down IRL… I’m imagining a bunch of tears, maybe some screaming… but this is truthful and gentle. I feel like he’s fully processed this occurrence through this track. Good for you, Kevin.

6. Gossip – Man, I want this little thought to go for days. Psychedelic music high right here. Get lost in it. For less than a fxcking minute. Way to tease me, guys. My ears yearn for more.

7. The Less I Know the Better – Choppy transition, but that bass line is genius. I love how upbeat everything has been despite the heavy, sad subject matter. There’s a brightness included that is so necessary. It can be so easy to turn to melancholy, but even this track, as sad as it seems to be… “I was doing fine without ya, ’til I saw your face…” It’s that emotional relapse phase that can sometimes be even more painful than the breakup itself. Wait, what? They’re moving on? WTF?! Have they forgotten about me?! Or even trying to replace them with a new person… which never works. Rebounding. It hurts. → Nothing can replace you, btw. You’re inimitable. I mean, you follow the Most Awesome music blog ever. Their loss. Now let’s move on.

8. Past Life – How prudent to mod Kevin’s voice. I feel like if it’d been left untouched that the feel would be less… what’s the word… authentic? Honestly. The situation he’s describing is so out-of-body, that surreality of coming to the realization that everything you once knew is completely gone, even in acknowledging “but it was real” becomes surreal. It’s admitting that it’s gone. Feels like a lifetime ago. A PAST. LIFE. Get it?!

9. Disciples – The sound is mono at the beginning, like an old radio. Flat. When it kicks into stereo at 0:45, the chorus, it’s shaking out of the situation at hand, perhaps this person again after a hot moment, it’s looking at the situation with new eyes and a new appreciation. Perhaps feeling like moving forward is an option. Upbeat, short, and sweet. To the point. Perfect.

10. ‘Cause I’m a Man – I feel like this must have been written after sex with an ex. Bad. Fxcking. Time. Every time. No foresight given, just caught up in a moment, and then… you gotta lay it all out again: it’s not gonna be like old times. It was like creature comfort, and the emotions you both experience have to be re-explored, acknowledged, and logic has to replace all of it. Don’t fall back in! (But don’t you just love how sexual that 70s porno backing is?! *chuckle* Oh, you know.)

11. Reality in Motion – Again with that choppy transition. I feel Kev’s need to fully shut that prior thought down, but I much prefer the seamless transitions when an album tells a story, as this one does. That being said, the story finds our guy with a renewed sense of direction, moving forward with conviction, yet still uncertain about the future. Beautiful melodic lines, I’m all about those voice mods. It simply wouldn’t be Tame Impala without them. Psychedelic love.

12. Love/Paranoia – Ugh, the realization of all the mistakes one makes in a relationship. So bad. It’s a bad damn trip, y’all. You know it. Kev, you put that shit into words, sir. It’s so hard to see what we do to other people when we’re in it, and when you finally recognize what an awful person you can become to the person you love the most, it’s the most painful thing! Follow it, breathe into it, and just own up. Two thumbs way up. What truth.

13. New Person, Same Old Mistakes – HOW. TO GET OUT. OF THE CYCLE? So easy to fall into old patterns in new relationships; or attempts at them, anyhow. Once you’ve made the realization, you feel it should be easier to let go and be different “next time” but that’s so not the case. If you listen to the background vocals, it that’s toxic internal script that we all get, discouraging us from moving forward, telling us we’ll fail no matter what we do… But listening to that will only hold us back. I love how this six-plus minute song really, FULLY explores this dynamic. Verse 2 is Kev pushing that inner script aside and saying, “No, I’m gonna take charge, here.” And then the bridge ties it all in amidst the remaining chorus (internal monologue) — we all have our faults, our demons, our issues to explore. Can’t dwell on that shit forever. Gotta keep going in spite of everything. Keep going, friends.

FINAL THOUGHTS: What a mindfxck. AMAAAAAAZING and complete third album by Tame Impala, right here, both musically and emotionally. The ONLY thing I’m disappointed in, and it’s only my preference, are the transitions, but I expected nothing less than awesome, and they totally delivered. ♦♦♦♦¾/5

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