Tame Impala's Tensional Singles: Patience and Borderline
Updated: May 3, 2019
Tame Impala mastermind, Kevin Parker teases us with two singles from his highly anticipated fourth studio album which has yet to see an official release date.
Tame Impala is a one man band, at least in the studio. Kevin Parker is the band's sole composer, player and producer on any studio recordings that have ever been released under the Tame Impala catalogue. Yes, you read that correctly. The Western-Australian Wizard writes every lyric, plays every single instrument and produces everything himself in the studio and then takes an additional four musicians out with him on the road whenever he tours. Kevin Parker is his own boss and literally answers to nobody other than himself. Whether you're a fan or not, you can't help but tip your hat off to such talent.
Tame Impala's music can best be described as psychedelia meets disco, meets R&B, meets electronica, meets the Bee Gees, meets Michael Jackson, meets the 21st century. I'd always known they were huge and had a very psychedelic feel to them, but I never gave them a good listen until I sat down and listen to, "The Less I Know the Better," for the first time. I think I listened to it five times straight through on a loop without distraction. It was one of those, "Holy Sh-t, where has this been all my life," moments. While I still don't know the depth of their music as well as I'd like to, they have an incredible mystique and colorful vibe to them that instantly puts you in a good mood and makes you feel like dancing. It almost makes me want to go on one of those color runs or paint throwing parties where you show up wearing white clothing and just throw paint on each other, as odd as that may sound. At the end of the day, its very uplifting and, "feel good," music that you want to enjoy on a sunny summer day with you lover, your friends, or by yourself, its entirely universal.
Tame Impala's last record, Currents which featured generational hits such as, "The Less I Know, the Better," and "Let it Happen," was released in July 2015 and has left fans waiting ever-so impatiently for new music, and now, that time has come. March 21st, Parker had posted a cryptic video on Tame Impala's Instagram account with no sound, and then later dropped an announcement saying, "New track. 1 hour. Speakers/headphones ready people." Now THAT is how you properly announce to the world, "I'm back."
Approximately one hour later, Tame Impala dropped their first new song in almost four years, "Patience," how ironic. The song opens up with piano chords backed by synthesizers, followed by the their trademark style, heavily influenced by classic R&B grooves and psychedelic rock. "Has it really been that long? Did I count the days wrong?" Yes, Kevin, yes you did. We have been waiting for a VERY long time for you to release new music, and we knew you wouldn't disappoint when that time would come. Lyrically, the song deals with an individual recanting their thoughts throughout their life, growing up in stages, living life in phases, constantly growing and running out of pages, just looking for a little patience for the right thing to come into their life without fully giving up on something. This can be interpreted in any way you want, whether it be a girl or guy, a job opportunity, or anything that you're looking for in life to get you out of the current funk you're in. Overall, to no surprise, the song is very uplifting and very easy to listen to; something you'd definitely want to bump in the car on a beautiful summer day.
Nine days after the release of, "Patience," Tame Impala were the musical guests of Saturday Night Live where they played their newly released single as well as a new single that wasn't announced or teased in any way. The new-new song, "Borderline," broke the internet late that night, leaving fans in awe and pure excitement, they knew their favorite artist was back.
"Borderline," was officially released as a single on April 12th. Instrumentally, the tune is an absolute head-bopper regardless of what mood or environment you're in, the song is that good. Contrary to the positive vibe of the instrumentation, the lyrics, on the contrary are quite the opposite. The lyrics deal with a fractured relationship that still has potential to work out in the end, but is in serious jeopardy.
"We're on the borderline, caught between the tides of pain and rapture. Then I saw the time, watched it speedin' by like a train."
In Layman's terms, we're on the border of things either going really well or really bad. We fight and we love, and before I knew it, I couldn't believe how much time has passed, we're just wasting the days. As the track goes on, during the later verse where the character starts to question themselves, and ponder upon their thoughts in a self-analyzing manner. It is unknown whether or not the song is actually an autobiographical recollection of Parker's time spent out in Los Angeles, where he dabbled in a few things that he shouldn't have (presumably drugs) and he's questioning whether or not he should further venture down the road or let it be, leaving him on a proverbial borderline. Look at it any way you want, it's entirely open to interpretation, which is one of the many, many great things about music.
It is entirely unknown as to when Tame Impala is releasing their long-awaiting fourth studio album which has yet to titled, but it is assumed that it will be sooner than later, given the fact that they are heading out on the road through this summer playing major festivals and headlining arenas in late August. For all local readers, they are playing two shows at Madison Square Garden on August 21st and 22nd, and I will more than likely be in attendance at one of these shows. As stated earlier, even though I don't know their music to the fullest extent just yet, they have a very special vibe about them that you know you have to experience at least once in life. It's one of those things where you just know it.
Watch below to see Tame Impala perform, "Borderline," at Coachella 2019!
In all honesty, the easiest way to become a fan of Tame Impala is to listen to the song, "Let it Happen," with a set of over the eat headphones and just get completely lost in it. The best way to describe this mesmerizing track would be if Kevin Parker were your tour guide on this psychedelic adventure for the first 2 and a half minutes. Then you, the listener utter the words, "If I never come back, tell my mother I'm sorry," and then you're catapulted into this beautiful, colorful world, soaring to the sounds of keyboards and synthesizers.
This is a record that myself and millions of others are waiting anxiously for, whether it be an official release date, another single or whatever the case may be, we know we have something to look forward to. I'm literally shaking with excitement just at the thought of writing a full-length review for this album. Until then, enjoy, and let it happen...