This is one half of the arts department’s review of Tame Impala’s The Slow Rush. The second article can be found here.
Hallowed by indie devotees for silky techno rhythms and dreamy synths, listening to Tame Impala is a lot like what I imagine those Stranger Things sensory deprivation tanks would be like. My dad says it’s “trippy,” I say it’s “soothing,” but to each his own.
Tame Impala released his first EP over 10 years ago and has since created music ranging from spacey to spirited. With bold anthems like “The Less I Know the Better” and “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” he is a staple for “left-of-center” listeners and has headlined shows across America, the United Kingdom and Australia. Much of Tame Impala’s musical aesthetic is slightly existential, contemplating personal development and bending the boundaries of space and time. In this way, he voices the questions that we spend much of our adolescence trying to answer, garnering vast following of young listeners in the process.
The Slow Rush, which dropped on Valentine’s Day, is the newest album to the collection. With 12 tracks, it’s a serendipitous amalgamation of all the best features of Tame Impala. It’s got the subtle bops he’s known for and the powerful, hard-driving melodies that earned him a spot on my “hall of fame” playlist. I usually rely on Tame Impala to keep me awake while I’m reading, and this album’s got just enough “slow” to keep me in my chair and enough “rush” to get me excited about my stats homework.
Unfortunately, the best track on the album is one we’ve already heard. Released as a single last year , “Borderline” is utopian and exhilarating — with lyrics like “Will I be known and loved?” and “Is there one that I trust?” that make identity crises sound cool. It’s the one of the few songs in the group that make you want to bob your head really vigorously in the library, and that’s quite honestly what I’m looking for when I queue up Tame Impala.
“Lost in Yesterday” is a close second, already garnering over 19 million streams on Spotify. With a bouncy downbeat and a catchy chorus that you can actually understand, it’s the perfect tune for rocking out in your room at weird hours of the morning.
“Breathe Deeper” takes the bronze, anchored by a simple yet solid keyboard strand and lyrics that are just the right level of repetitive. The vibe is half intergalactic and half 1980s piano bar, and the result is a piece that both pulls you into the future and makes you feel reminiscent about the past.
The longest song on the album is “One More Hour,” rolling in at a preposterous seven minutes and 13 seconds. (If you need a frame of reference, that’s over a minute longer than “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which is an arguably much more exciting way to spend five minutes and 55 seconds.) The shortest song, “Glimmer,” has a groovy beat and sounds like something you’d hear when you’re walking through a high-end department store, but at 2 minutes and nine seconds, it’s over before you blink.
“It Might Be Time” is a personal least favorite, sounding frankly cacophonic as we hear vocals over aggressive drums over something that sounds like a power drill. For the stark chill-ness that is a key piece of what sets Tame Impala apart, this song is really just a bit too much.
On the whole, The Slow Rush is an excellent showcase of Tame Impala’s strengths, with only a few minor drawbacks. It’s the ideal soundtrack for philosophizing, focusing or feeling all the feels, with tracks that’ll feed your wild side and your wallowing side.
Megan Pontin is a freshman in the School of Industrial Labor Relations. She can be reached at [email protected]