Currents is the latest album from Tame Impala and heralds a significant change for the artist. This is because, after two albums from Tame Impala that primarily revolved around Kevin Parker’s isolation, despair, and withdrawal from society, Currents reintroduces itself to the mainland in a major way. Do not let its catchy and danceable tunes fool you, however, as the writing here still exudes the same loneliness and melancholy of Parker’s earlier lyrics.
This is a review of Tame Impala’s third album. It tries to briefly explain why you need to give this record a listen.
Before anything else, readers need to understand that this album stands apart from the band’s previous releases. Let us be clear, Kevin Parker’s writing speaks to the listener on the very basic level. The melancholic isolation that served as the centerpiece of the band’s previous albums has transformed into something else that can only be defined as regret, heartbreak, and bitterness. It works extremely well as this album, essentially, is all about parting.
This is actually true on so many levels. First, the lyrics itself often speak of an end to a love affair and the pain that comes with it. Instrumentally, this album also marks Parker’s parting with the guitar as the band’s primary tool for expression. Lastly, it also completely dispels the notion that Tame Impala is nothing more than Kevin Parker and a couple of random band members.
The first song on the Currents’ album “Let It Happen” pretty much sets the track. Barely having any audible guitar sounds, the song presents a song that can only be called as a psych-disco hybrid. This song draws inspiration from a wide array of sources including disco, yacht rock, and dance pop. Parker’s writing has always been on point. He was never one to mince his words. The track “Yes I’m Changing” communicates his intentions for this album well, both lyrically and musically.
The sheer lack of guitars means listeners will not be able to find songs that sound like “Elephant” on this album. However, this decision to shift instrumental focus gives Parker the chance to show off his skills on the bass and he delivers in a massive way. Every song on this album makes use of the bass guitar as its primary melodic instrument, driving the song forward and making us sway with every beat.
For instance, “The Moment” gives off the same vibe that “Elephant” did while recalling the pop sensibilities of Gwen Stefani and Akon. That being said, “The Less I Know the Better” is still our favorite track here. This song wears its influences on its sleeve, drawing on Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Bad albums, while also showing off the flare that Parker has developed over the years.
The lyricism of Kevin Parker’s writing continues on this album, taking us to deeper and darker places while the beat themselves draw influences from the pop scene. Overall, this is a huge album that needs to be listened to by anyone who loves good music.