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Lonerism: Psychedelic Makes a Comeback

By Maddie Stachniak in Arts & Culture

Who the heck is Tame Impala? The band is essentially the recording project of Kevin Parker, who writes and records the majority of the music. Tame Impala puts a modern twist on psychedelic rock. If you captured John Lennon’s voice from “a Day in a Life”, you would have Kevin Parker’s voice.

However, Tame Impala is not just some lame Beatles knockoff. Far from it. There music is some of the most original stuff out there, as it takes aspects of psychedelic rock and blends it with use of synthesizers and other audio effects, creating something that is satisfying and interesting to listen to. If you combined the Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Shins and the Flaming Lips, you would have Tame Impala in a nutshell.

The band first gained recognition when they released their first album, Innerspeaker, which was named Best New Music by Pitchfork. Tame Impala released their new album, Lonerism, in October of this year.

I have to say that after listening to Lonerism extensively, it has become one of my all-time favorite albums. Tame Impala’s music is amazing in that it creates of sort of dream-like feeling when you listen to it. Most of the songs are incredibly laid back and happy, so its perfect to listen to if you are in a good mood or want to relax.

Lonerism is one of those albums in which you can’t really pick a song that is weak or dislikable; all of its tracks are both instrumentally and lyrically strong. However, several of the tracks that stood out to me were “Apocalypse Dreams”, “Mind Mischief”, “Why Won’t They Talk To Me”, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” and “Sun’s Coming Up”.

“Apocalypse Dreams” struck me as a song about an unattainable wish. In this instance, Parker sings about a strange girl that he only knows in his dreams. The song is also quite introspective as it continues, as Parker questions if he will ever find what he wants. “Am I getting closer?/ Will I ever get there/ Does it even matter/ Do I really need it?” sings Parker as the song explodes into chorus. “Why Won’t They Talk to Me” is a song about superficial conversations that feel meaningless.It highlights the feelinhg of speaking yet  not really communicating. The track has a very smooth flow and a lonely tone, which makes it both meaningful and interesting.

One of my favorite tracks off Lonerism is “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”, which describes the isolation you feel when you are not sure if someone returns your feelings for them. The lyrics that really struck me were: “I know that you think you sound silly when you call my name. / But I hear it inside my head all day.” This track is slightly less trippy and psychedelic than others and has a more classic rock feel. In addition, the bass is impressive, and really moves the whole song along. The tune is tinged with longing and sadness, yet when it ends you feel strangely happy. “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” has a great story behind it as well as an amazing sound. The final song on the album, “Sun’s Coming Up”, is a melancholy little track. This song can be likened to some of the Beatles's work and stands out from the rest of the songs with its use of piano. “Sun’s Coming Up” tells the story of a man who realizes that the person he loves, who is far away from him both emotionally and physically,no longer loves him. “7:00 am./ Midnight in Dover./ Sun's coming up now./I guess it's over,” croons Parker as the piano  crescendos. Though the lyrics of the track are very simple, this somehow heightens its emotional value, making it more true and raw. This has to be one of my favorites off the album. Tame Impala is talented, plain and simple. However, their music is not for everyone. If you are the type of person that listens primarily to hip-hop, rap or pop, you probably will not like Tame Impala. But if you are a fan of psychedelic rock, the Beatles or alternative music, you will have a greater appreciation of the band. I myself will certainly be watching out for what Tame Impala does next. Lonerism gets 5/5 stars.

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