Tame Impala shares dreamy take on human experience

Liz Kelton

Tame Impala takes the neo-psychedelic rock genre in a dreamy storm.

His new album, “The Slow Rush,” takes his characteristic unique layering of sounds, which mix together to create a hypnotic dream-like melody, and pairs it with meaningful lyrics. The album was released Feb. 14. As with Tame Impala’s previous records, Kevin Parker’s talent as a multi-instrumentalist and his ability to blend melodies in completely original ways shine through in his newest record.

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Much like the previous albums “Currents” and “Lonerism,” there is a strong sense of melody in this album. The lyrics of “The Slow Rush” continue to be meaningful and perfectly synchronized with the most compatible parts of the melodies.

The Slow Rush takes listeners into a dream where time passes oddly, lyrics emerge in a stream of consciousness and the subconscious is awakened”

Historically, Tame Impala’s lyrics have been open-ended and ambiguous, so the listener can create their own meaning and relationship with the tracks. This persists in this record, yet there are many songs in which the lyrics are less ambiguous and drive the song more than the melodies do. This record tells a story in a more noticeable fashion than previous records, and that story is a dream.

“The Slow Rush” takes listeners into a dream where time passes oddly, lyrics emerge in a stream of consciousness and the subconscious is awakened. In this dream, the depths of being human are explored: ups and downs, love and loneliness, being lost and being high. It explores how time can be a deep ocean, a lightning bolt or an important event passing as one is distracted by superficial things.

According to Parker himself, this album is “a paean to creation and destruction and the unending cycle of life.” The album cover’s surrealist style matches the surrealist nature of tapping into the unconscious self through dreams. The title, “The Slow Rush,” points to the odd and illogical passage of time the conscious finds itself in occasionally.

The lyrics and melodies in “Tomorrow’s Dust” and “Is It True” refer to being stuck in the past through memories or being worried about the future instead of being in the present.

The album also explores the impact of the passage of time as one looks back at how dreams did not go as planned and how one can be lost in those expectations, such as in “Lost in Yesterday,” “On Track” and “It Might Be Time.”

This album’s lyrics explore being stuck in memories, being frozen by fear of the future or being lost as one feels the time passing by them. The melodies match this theme beautifully, with repetitive hypnotic layered instruments that often incorporate electronic soundscapes. The lyrics and melodies make one feel hypnotized, transported to their subconscious, able to dream and experience time in a new manner.

This album also experiments with stream of consciousness lyrics in “Borderline” and new instrumentals, such as the acoustic guitar in “Posthumous Forgiveness” and saxophone in “Is It True.” This experimentation shows Parker’s diversity as a producer and songwriter and his ability to experiment while keeping his distinguishable style.

Many of the tracks have an upbeat, pop-inspired melody, while others show Tame Impala’s roots in neo-psychedelia through his hypnotic multi-layered unique mixing of instruments.

Some melodies are lighthearted and playful, such as “Breathe Deeper,” “Glimmer” and “Borderline,” while others provide melancholic melodies that provoke strong emotions, such as “Posthumous Forgiveness,” “Tomorrow’s Dust” and “On Track.” 

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As is typical with Tame Impala’s style, the instruments and lyrics often contain a deeper and more powerful meaning that is not noticeable at first. 

“The Slow Rush” is experimental, meaningful, serious and playful. This paradox alternates between songs and even within the songs themselves, which keeps the music fresh, engaging, thought-provoking and a mirror to the human experience.

“The Slow Rush” takes one on a subconscious exploration of time and tells the stories of human experience as if in a dream. This album resonates deeply with the listener through its experimental psychedelic melodies that pair perfectly with profound lyrics.

Rating: 9/10

Best Songs: “Lost in Yesterday,” Posthumous Forgiveness,” “Borderline” 

Worst songs: None

Liz Kelton can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @liz_kelton.