I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since this album was released. I remember sitting in my car listening to the full stream of Currents on NPR before it was available on iTunes. I was so excited for new music from Tame Impala and Kevin Parker did not disappoint. This album is so indicative of Parker’s personal growth and coming to terms with his fame. It contrasts starkly with Parker’s last couple albums, titled Innerspeaker and Lonerism. Even the titles suggest Parker’s desire for isolationism. Currents doesn’t suggest that Parker is no longer lonely, just that he is accepting it and handling it the best he can. This is the breakup album to end all breakup albums, in more ways than the obvious literal breakup. This album is the end of the guitar as Parker’s primary instrument and the idea that Kevin Parker is the only one behind Tame Impala is made abundantly clear. I would really like to go through and dissect every track on this album, but I’m going to do my best to narrow it down to a few of my favorites.
Abby Gilardi via Tame_Impala-3712
Let It Happen
Of course Parker chose to open with this seven minute masterpiece of a song. Let It Happen deals with Parker’s acceptance of his fame. Even the title makes this obvious. Let it, as in his rise to fame, happen. However, he does voice some reservations about being consumed by this new world he has found himself in with the line “If I never come back/ tell my mother I’m sorry.” The repeating drums in this song is what makes it stand out to me. It’s just so much more dance-y (excuse my made-up word) than any of the songs on his previous albums. Personally, I think the 3-minute drum/guitar interlude that starts around 2:40 improves the song because the riff is so groovy. However, I think many people that aren’t die-hard Kevin Parker fans would find the interlude too long and get impatient with it. To prove that point, the radio version of this song cuts that instrumental only part, which, to quote Leslie Knope, is “a tragedy on par with human trafficking. Slight exaggeration.”
The Less I Know the Better
You know I had to mention this track if only for the sick-ass bass. Side note, when Tame Impala performed this song at ACL they did NOT turn up the bass enough and that was disappointing. Anyway, this song is so groovy and it has become the popular song off of Currents for good reason. Parker is an absolute savage throughout this song which is first illustrated by calling out his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend by name with the line, “She was holding hands with Trevor/not the greatest feeling ever.” Despite Parker seemingly being cold and harsh towards his girlfriend, he makes it clear that he still wants her back. The saddest part of the song to me is how his ex-girlfriend says “It’s not now or never/ wait 10 years we’ll be together,” and Parker’s heart-breaking response is, “better late than never/ just don’t make me wait forever.” The music video for this song is very interesting and weird; check it out.
‘Cause I’m a Man
Parker has faced criticisms that this track is sexist but he has stated that was never his intent. This song deals with how men do terrible things and try to make excuses but the truth is they are just pathetic and have no self-control. Take that how you will. Parker’s voice in this song in particular is so beautiful and calming. His voice accompanied by the drums and guitar that start the song remind me of waves in the ocean gently washing over my body. I love this song so much and I definitely see how some people would consider it sexist, but I see it as more of a very truthful way of looking at relationships. I think it has a really intimate vibe. It reminds me of past relationships and betrayals I’ve faced. It actually makes me very emotional; sometimes I skip this track for that exact reason.
Nangs and Gossip are super short songs that serve the purpose of transitioning smoothly into the next track. Nangs leads us into The Moment in such a nice way. There a few vocals “but is there something more than that?” but this track is centered around some electronic noises. Fun fact, nangs is Australian slang for whippets. Gossip leads us into The Less I Know the Better. The subtle guitar and electronic noises that sound similar to the ones in Nangs lead us perfectly into the pounding bass of The Less I Know the Better. The tiny 3-note guitar riff at the very end of this track is amazing. Parker’s genius is really demonstrated in the tiny details of this album.
To Wrap it Up
Currents is the best album in the whole world and I stand by that bold statement firmly. I know that’s a huge thing to say but this album really affected me personally. It makes me think of a very specific time in my life and how I’ve grown since then. I love every track on this album and narrowing it down was very hard. Currents demonstrates Parker’s personal growth as well as being an amazing break-up album. I will never get tired of this album and I can’t wait to see what Tame Impala does next.