Maybe I was just bitter because I had never been before, but Bonnaroo was always one of those festivals nobody would stop talking about. In 2018, it was my turn on the farm, and I finally got it. I understood why Bonnaroo made people feel the way they did. It really is such an incredible festival. There’s so much to do. Maybe too much? Or maybe I was just too inexperienced. Read about my struggles as a Bonnaroo first-timer here.
Bonnaroo stole my heart right away, but that Tennessee heat is one strong force. I was really on the fence about making the trip back this year, just because I wasn’t sure if I was up for the marathon that is Roo. Well let’s just say that lineup release last month knocked me right off that fence.
No, that isn’t some mock lineup from Reddit. That is the official Bonnaroo 2020 lineup, and what an absolute work of art it is. I personally think this is one of the best lineups I’ve seen from any festival since 2014. One name on that poster in particular, however, makes my heart soar. That name is Tame Impala.
Kevin Parker AKA Tame Impala, is a musical genius (for lack of a better term). Kevin writes, records, and produces all of Tame Impala’s music himself. He then performs with the help of Jay Watson and Cam Avery (members of Australian psychedelic rock band Pond), as well as Dominic Simper and Julien Barbagallo.
While Tame Impala is Parker’s most well-known project, he has also worked on projects like The Dee Dee Dums, Pond, Mink Mussel Creek, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Space Lime Peacock, Canyons, and Theo Impala. He’s also collaborated heavily with artists such as Mark Ronson, Miguel, Lady Gaga, ZHU, Kanye West, and Travis Scott.
With nearly five years since the release of Currents, a fourth studio album from Tame Impala has been highly anticipated. Hints to the album’s forthcoming began in March of last year when the single “Patience,” was released. Fans were also surprised when a second single, “Borderline,” dropped the day before Tame Impala’s headlining set at Coachella in April.
In late October of last year, the new album was finally announced along with a new single, “It Might Be Time.” Parker took to Instagram to write the following:
“Hey everyone sorry i’ve been a bit quiet for the last 4 billion years and sorry it’s all been a bit weird this year, there are all sorts of excuses i could serve you but it basically all comes down to me hating the idea of giving you anything that isn’t the best my entire heart and soul and brain can give. But i’m so fucking relieved the day has finally come that i can give you a date, I guess you are too… And i’m so excited for touring next year and beyond with a new show and new album of songs and yes we’ll come to peru and yes we’ll come to brazil and wherever you live in the world because that’s all i want to do for the rest of my life. I’ll be waiting anxiously with you until feb 14 2020, in the meantime enjoy this quirky new song about your own inner paranoid thoughts telling you you’ve lost your mojo, and whose drum sound took me about 1 of those 4 billion years. love you all”
Two more singles, “Posthumous Forgiveness,” and “Lost in Yesterday,” and a music video were also released in the following months.
And now, the day is finally here. Valentine’s Day to some, and Tame Impala day to others. No matter where you fall on that spectrum, this is an album we all need to take a little time to dive into.
In a broad sense, The Slow Rush has to do with the concept of time. In an interview with Apple Music, Kevin Parker told Zane Lowe that the prevailing theme of the album is “how humans are affected by time.”
It’s evident that The Slow Rush is an immensely personal work of art for Kevin Parker. He expresses to Lowe that every Tame Impala album gets more and more personal as he grows more and more confident as an artist. One of the more personal tracks, and quite frankly my favorite on the album, “Posthumous Forgiveness,” is the lucid result of that growing confidence. The sort of two-part song speaks on the relationship Kevin had with his late father. “It was never meant to be a two part song. It was kinda just like two things that I had. The first half was kinda like this confused rage, and the second half was kind of the sunshine after the rain…” Parker says.
Another one of my favorite tracks on the album is the especially psychedelic, “One More Year.” Parker goes on to explain to Lowe that the song has much to do with feeling stuck in your comfort zone. Many people fall into a “stale part of life,” and this song is realizing that one is stuck in this cycle and deciding to break out of that routine by giving it “One More Year.” When asked if he ever felt that way within his music career, Parker told Lowe, “Sure. The idea of doing what I’m already good at, and doing it well, is kinda just so boring…” I find it almost poetic that he chose this track to open up the first Tame Impala album in five years. One might assume that Parker did indeed feel trapped by the comfort zone that was his career as Tame Impala, and therefore decided to break that cycle by entering into an unfamiliar, and sort of collaborative era working with artists like Mark Ronson and Travis Scott. These collaborations, I feel, have influenced Parker as an artist heavily and helped make The Slow Rush the masterpiece that is is.
“I’m empty… I’m drained… I’ve given it everything… Everything I am is in this album.”