..It’s been an incredible rise for Kevin Parker, the brains behind Australian psychedelic rock outfit Tame Impala. Since emerging from the underground in 2009 he has faced criticism for being a Sgt. Peppers era Beatles rip off, before transforming into one of the most relevant and progressive musical minds of his generation. His crowning moment will come this year when he twins the release of Tame Impala’s fourth album with a Coachella headline slot; but what are his best songs so far?
15. Enders Toi – From Lonerism
Taking a full 90 seconds to kick into any form of vocals, Kevin Parker decides to use Enders Toi as his playground of instrumental experimentation; and the end product is stunning. It is very shoegaze-esque in delivery with those echoed effects placed onto the guitars and the fresh sounds of it’s surroundings but the execution is completely futuristic. This song has a marvellous aurora surrounding it and stands tall as one of my favourite ever Tame Impala instrumentals.
14. The Moment – From Currents
Fairly simplistic in it’s approach, The Moment has flashing synth bursts in it’s finger snapping beat as well as some groovy drums to match. Kevin’s vocals and lyrics are clever and poignant, taking centre stage on the track as he speaks about uncertainty of his future but also embracing living in The Moment if you will. It’s hard to not crack a smile listening to this song, even with the sometimes mysterious lyrical play.
13. List Of People (To Try And Forget About) – From Currents B-Sides
Coined as one of the first songs he wrote in the Currents sessions, List Of People (To Try And Forget About) was one of the unfortunate tracks to miss out on the final version of the album but was released as a B-side in 2017 because, well, it’s too good to leave to rot. His vocals are woozy, lyrics are often upsetting but the production is uplifting and regal, providing a lovely oxymoron to the mood imbalance that was Currents.
12. Lucidity – From InnerSpeaker
I really enjoy the staggered but slick guitars on this song which sound extra special when dosed in audio effect to create a spaced-out atmospheric sound. Lucidity is very much a jam session hit in the way it flows and the ways in which Kevin seems to add tiny elements as the song goes along, from the subtle switches in bass guitars and the change of pace in the drums. Kev’s vocals are some of the best he displays on the debut album and offer something quite mysterious to the track as a whole.
11. Sun’s Coming Up – From Lonerism
An interesting approach on this, the final track from 2012’s Lonerism album, Kevin adopts a piano for the first few minutes of Sun’s Coming Up for a bluesy soulful track before delving into the mystery of an isolated guitar in the latter stages, seemingly playing sole chords and seeing how they go together. Funnily enough, they fit very well indeed and make for a serene ending to a very good album.
10. Reality In Motion – From Currents
Space-age production and some whispered rap-inspired vocals from Kevin Parker? Yep, Reality In Motion is an absolute tune, certainly one of the more underappreciated of the Tame Impala discography. Given the juggernaut status of Currents as an album, it is perhaps understandable that some songs go under the radar, but this deserves far more recognition for it’s structuring; the drums are bouncy, the vocals ride the beat beautifully and the production is like dream-pop wrapped up in a little red bow.
9. Elephant – From Lonerism
The most outward rock hit Tame Impala have ever done, Elephant is a boom blast single straight from the George Harrison playbook. I love the way this song gives you no warning of what bizarre turn it is about to make, as we spiral through distorted bass riffs and synthesiser keys on this whirlwind of sound that we call a Tame Impala single. Easily one of the group’s biggest and most well-recognised songs; you’ll get no prizes for guessing this would make an appearance on their best songs’ list.
8. Apocalypse Dreams – From Lonerism
Apocalypse Dreams is a stalwart of Tame Impala’s live shows and thank god it is, imagine seeing this one live. There are obvious homages to blues rock and jazz but the way they have been chopped into a modern enigma of a song makes it a very polarising listen for the full five minutes and 57 seconds. The chords are played with meaning and the cymbals crash with authority as this track transcends reality in it’s own beautiful bubble.
7. Eventually – From Currents
Explosive. That’s the word that comes to mind when you hear the huge start to Eventually. It has become somewhat of a running joke amongst avid music fans that this song is like breaking through the atmosphere to a new dimension; it is the magic key necessary to unlock new, undiscovered avenues of your brain. It has gorgeous electronic keys in the production and some top class lyrical work from Kevin as he pours his heart out to a lover he has recently broken up with. “I know that I’ll be happier, and I know you will too, eventually”.
6. Solitude Is Bliss – From InnerSpeaker
Oh my word this guitar riff. It is the funkiest thing you’ll hear in your life, mark my words. Yes it sounds similar to the blazed era of late 60s Beatles music, yes it is rough around the edges, but seriously this is absolutely mesmeric. It is, for me, the finest display of the Tame Impala discography from their first album; and a blueprint for them to build from as they crafted their modern day brilliance.
5. Mind Mischief – From Lonerism
A song about whimsical excitement around seeing a girl, there is a blissful innocence to Mind Mischief that makes it such a special song in Tame Impala’s history. It’s quirky, cute and above all else, immensely catchy with some nice harmonies and a clean cut guitar riff alongside some glamorous production. In terms of lyrical content this is definitely a more feelgood moment and one of my personal favourites of Kevin Parker’s career.
4. The Less I Know The Better – From Currents
The biggest song in the Tame Impala discography, it possesses an universally accessible riff which is enough to get anyone’s feet moving. This song becomes so much more than just that groove-inspired production, however, once you hear Kevin’s soulful vocal performance. His rhyme scheme is right up there with the very best on this track and make no bones about it, crafting a piece of music this good is an absolute art form; especially one that can dominate the airwaves like The Less I Know The Better did in the summer of 2015.
3. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards – From Lonerism
This song was my first exposure to Tame Impala as a band and, needless to say, I was blown away from the early embers. It has a colossal grand opening as Kevin passionately proclaims the issues of his relationship with this girl while also having the song burst into energetic life. An awe-inspiring anthem that truly announced Kevin Parker as a genius of the genre, a true king of modern day psychedelia.
2. Let It Happen – From Currents
My favourite description of this song is that it is the ultimate dickswinger of an anthem. The fact Kevin Parker opened his album with a near eight minute long dance-infused electro-pop song that loops and updates the core instrumental foundation for a solid four of those minutes is beyond comprehension; but just listen to the results. It really could be a peep through the looking glass of what pop music sounds like in the future, but very few will be able to replicate the brilliance of Let It Happen.
1. New Person, Same Old Mistakes – From Currents
The biblical closer from Tame Impala’s reverse love concept album, it is hard to deny that New Person, Same Old Mistakes is not only Tame Impala’s best song ever; but also one of the finest displays of neo-psych in recent memory. Blending sinister synth lines with chilling but harmonic vocal melodies, Kevin Parker wears his heart on his sleeve for the whole duration of this six minute masterpiece, demonstrating as much heartache as he does self-awareness.