After a five year hiatus, Tame Impala, whose real name is Kevin Parker, is back with a fourth studio album, “The Slow Rush.” The album is a heartfelt confession that discusses the passage of time, grief and feelings of inadequacy.
Although the psychedelic synth-pop elements fans love are present in this album, Parker steps back from the usual high energy tracks fans expect and approaches this album with a thoughtful meditation and smoother approach to the sound and lyricism. It is by far the most mature and thematically cohesive Tame Impala album.
“The Smooth Rush” opens with a reflection on feeling trapped in time, with lyrics like, “I know we promised we’d be doing this ’til we die / And now I fear we might,” but the song grows into an acceptance and celebration of life. This song serves as a fantastic thematic introduction to the album, allowing listeners to consider their own personal thoughts on their relationship with time, a sort of mindfulness practice.
A majority of Parker’s work deals with the theme of loneliness and solitude. He is a solo artist who writes, produces and records his music by himself. However, during the production of this album, Parker married his now-wife, Sophie. The second track, “Instant Destiny” is an ode to her. This song includes lyrics such as, “I’m about to do something crazy,” and “We can get a home in Miami, go and get married.” This song, and these lyrics specifically, showcase growth in Parker’s art and life. It also presents the passage of time as something to be welcomed, as it allows a chance for maturity and self-improvement.
Later in the album, the track, “Is It True” explores the alternative side of this celebration. The track discusses the uncertainty that comes along with marriage. Parker sings, “And I tell her I’m in love with her / But how can I know that I’ll always be?” The juxtaposition of these two tracks is expertly presented and allows the listener to understand Parker’s headspace, which is full of uncertainty and self doubt.
By far, the best track on the album is “Posthumous Forgiveness,” which served as the third single from the album. The song, which discusses Parker’s father’s death, starts off slow, but builds, adding to the emotional intensity of the lyrics. Parker uses drums to echo his frustrations. They build as he sings hard-hitting lines such as, “Did you think I’d never know? Never wise up as I grow?” This song largely deals with grief, and these feelings are echoed within the music. The first half is full of anger and confusion, building up to a crescendo. It then becomes softer, as Parker writes about how he wishes he could spend time with his father now. This is by far the most emotional song on the album and it is expertly crafted.
The last track on the album, “One More Hour” effectively wraps up the thematic points expressed on the record. It discusses how Parker has felt inadequate in his music and life. He reflects on his career and how he ended up at this place in his life. He summarizes this song, and record, in the lines, “How could I ever love again? / How could I ever ask for more? / And to the road ahead / Into a life I can’t ignore.” This track is a thoughtful reflection on life and a hopeful outlook to the future.
As a whole, “The Slow Rush” is quintessentially Tame Impala. Fans who have waited for five years for a new release will not be disappointed. This album is well worth the wait.