The Magic that is Tame Impala


Photo via Josh Sisk/The Washington Post

Each year when December rolls around, avid music listeners eagerly await the reveal of their “Spotify Wrapped”, and “Apple Music Replay”. Both of these well known streaming services keep track of what their users listen to over the course of a year and present it to them in December. This year, my most listened to artist was Tame Impala. This statistic comes as no surprise to me, considering I constantly have their discography on repeat in my ears, in my car, or while doing homework. If you know me, you know I adore Tame Impala. 

While Tame Impala has been a household name in my vocabulary, and is constantly gaining more popularity over the years, many don’t understand the appeal of his music, or who he is. At the core of Tame Impala is Australian musician, Kevin Parker. Parker writes, sings, plays and produces all of his music himself, and while touring, he is accompanied by various bandmates. This is what makes up Tame Impala. Without Parker, this musical project wouldn’t exist. I first started listening to Tame Impala in the eighth grade when a friend played me “The Less I Know the Better”, one of their most popular songs. Soon after, I became hooked on the album “Currents” and declared myself a Tame Impala fan. Though I loved “Currents” it wasn’t until years later that I immersed myself into the magic that is Tame Impala by listening to all their albums, and then I fully understood why I love their music the way I do. 

For starters, the main aspect that impresses me the most is that Kevin Parker is a one man show. The music is created entirely by him and each time I listen, I can hear the passion he has for it in every record released. The fact that he conceptualizes everything himself makes me feel like I am listening to a genuine artist. In this day and age, it is very common for big name artists to be scarcely involved in the creation of their music, yet Parker does the opposite. In a sense, it feels more real to listen to an artist who is both the brains and creativity behind their products.

Another thing I’ve learned about my listening habits, courtesy of my Apple Music Replay, is that I have listened to 891 different artists this year. This hefty number shocked me, but I can confidently say that no other artist I’ve listened to this year has had me as invested as Impala has. Parker’s lyrics on being human, feeling different, growing and changing as a person, and much more, have given me songs for almost every emotion. To me, music is not just about the “vibes”, it is also about the lyrics. Parker has proven that he is capable of achieving both of these criteria. In a song like “Let it Happen” the instrumentals are phenomenal and fascinating that they deservingly overpower the lyrics, but in a song like “Posthumous Forgiveness”, although the instruments are also prominent, the lyrics are what make it meaningful. “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” provides a more pop-like feel, but “New Person Same Old Mistakes” embodies the classic psychedelic rock that Impala is known for. Good music is good regardless of the genre it falls under, and I love the loaded plate of genres that Parker has shown he is capable of combining in his songs. 

“The Slow Rush” is an album that, in my opinion, was ahead of its time. It hones in on self-reflection and new beginnings. Released just prior to the pandemic, it encapsulates feelings that many have recently experienced. During the song “On Track”, Parker sings about persevering over minor setbacks, and believing that you are on the correct path, regardless of what your self-doubting thoughts tell you. He says “I know it’s been a slow year, nothing much to show here”, a feeling we know all too well after the past 18 months. It is incredible how he captures ubiquitous emotions and turns them into unique musical masterpieces. 

While I have many artists I believe I will continue to listen to, and treasure in the coming years, I know for sure that Tame Impala’s music has made a lasting impression on me. Never have I been so fascinated by sounds and productions, and I hope this article inspires you to take a listen on your own! Who was your most listened to artist this year and why do you love them?