Tame Impala - Currents

Joshua Voth

Currents is the latest album by Australian psychedelic rock musician, Kevin Parker (also known as Tame Impala). Released in July 2015, this album is a rich combination of psychedelic pop, synthpop, R&B, and disco.  Currents is the third album given to us by Tame Impala and in many ways sticks out as being different, transitional and fluid.

 Many of the songs on this album can be described as warm, melancholy and catchy.  The album definitely mirrors Parker’s own life; he describes the parallels between song names and his own thoughts on the ever-changing nature of life, and reflects on the changes that have been made to Tame Impala over time.  Songs like ‘Eventually’ and ‘Let it Happen’ embody his own personal philosophies of life being transitional and not static.

The song ‘Eventually’ is by far my favourite song on this album. Parker describes this song as the one having the most impact on his own life and identifies closely with it on a personal level. The song is about the emotional, internal struggle of ending a relationship. This is best captured in the opening lines: “If only there could be another way to do this / Cause it feels like murder to put your heart through this.” Later, he goes on to say, “But I know that I’ll be happier / And I know you will too.”  We feel the intense emotions during the bridge when the clear ring of strings pulses like a siren in an almost soothing manner as he says “Eventually” over and over.

The album art is also unique to the album as it re-emphasizes the idea of currents with a visual depiction of liquid being disturbed. The artwork was created by Robert Beatty, an artist in Kentucky. Beatty describes in an interview how he came to create the design for the album; he had met with Parker, who requested the artwork to be “based on turbulent flow, the way liquid or air flows around objects.”

Without a doubt, Parker has made Currents a self-reflective album, and we can definitely hear that in the tone of the lyrics and the rhythms behind each individual song and as a whole. We also see a shift in style, and this album has a more dance-like feeling with synthesizers on the guitar portions.

The album received positive ratings from electronic and rock music enthusiasts from around the world.  On Metacritic, Currents currently holds a score of 84/100, and Rolling Stone magazine placed this album at number 13 on its list of the "50 Best Albums of 2015". Within the first week after the release of Currents, the total number of vinyl copies sold was 14,000, and as of December 2015, Tame Impala has sold 120,000 copies in North America.

I encourage you to give this album a listen from beginning to end. I would describe the album’s approach to conveying its message as gentle and enjoyable, and the music as a massage for the brain.