Here at Burbs, we find it important to come together to discuss our opinions and ideas about recent events in popular culture in order to develop a better overall understanding. We rounded up our resident Impalans and asked them some questions about the alternative genre’s most precious jewel’s highly anticipated album, The Slow Rush.
It’s finally here, people... so it’s only necessary that we ask the typical “Was it worth the wait? Did it love up to the hype?” question. Did Tame Impala’s fourth album fulfill your gaudy expectations?
Carter Ferryman: It’s undeniably difficult to follow up an album as wonderful as Currents, so my biggest worry was Kevin Parker’s ability to find a new sound. Not sure why I was worried, however, it’s Kevin Parker. The Slow Rush is a chronicle of uncertainty and grim optimism for the future - but the vintage synths that he introduces from start to finish make you feel comfortable. It’s a win in my book - good shit, Kev.
Deja Williams: There is no better valentine than Mr. Kevin Parker. Seriously. I feel elated. Tame Impala sits comfortably with my list of favorites (Frank, SZA, & Rihanna) when it comes to album anticipation. I wait patiently because I know they serve nothing but perfection. This record is transformative & blooming yet nostalgic in a way that brings me deep comfort.
Ralph James: I’ve been trying to abandon my tendency for having lofty expectations recently in order to prevent tremendous heartbreak. However, that’s really fucking hard. So yes. One thousand times yes. It lived up to them & then some.
Sareena Katz: 100%. The thing I love about Tame Impala is that every album is so fucking different. The vibe of The Slow Rush puts me in this sort of hypnotic state. Kevin Parker always says that he wants to create music that is new and exciting for him. He prides himself in straying away from his previous sound, something that not many artists can do. I would honestly say that the album has passed my expectations simply for the fact that its early singles didn’t define the album as a whole. That straying away from the built expectations excites me.
Evan Linden: Yes, yes, and yes. After a five-year hiatus, I knew that Kevin wasn't going to give us anything less than his best work. The Slow Rush, while yet to be seen as his "best album" in my book, exemplifies Kevin Parker's full potential without a doubt.
What’s the first word you think of when you hear the name Kevin Parker or Tame Impala?
Carter Ferryman: “GLOWING” - Kevin Parker is a gleaming ray of light manifested. His voice floats effortlessly. His production is funky and bright at times, gloomy and gliding at others. When he sings, I feel warm inside, even if the lyrics establish a different emotion. He’s simply too good at what he does.
Deja Williams: The first word that comes to mind when I think of Kevin Parker/Tame Impala: BBC Radio. I fear the only person more devoted to his craft are the Brits. So many incredible memories I have in London are attuned with Tame Impala playing softly in the background.
Ralph James: Groovy. I mean, what can I say? The man makes me want to dance until my entire body needs Advil.
Sareena Katz: Inventive. Being the incredible one man band that he is, Kevin Parker is simply a creative genius. His ability to create with his imagination, to play an abundance of sounds ranging from different styles, to perfect all of the different instruments that he has, these are the things will blow my mind every. single. time. How does one man write, record and produce such complex albums all by himself? Inventiveness.
Evan Linden: The best alternative artist alive. If we’re being honest, he’s probably one of the most talented artists alive, period. Few other living musicians of any genre have even come close to his level of musical mastery.
Which record can you most see yourself dancing to like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever under some iridescent lights with a plethora of toxins running through your system?
Carter Ferryman: “Is It True” without a shadow of a doubt. This song is Kevin Parker’s combination of soft, hand-pattering percussion, woozy keys, and that BANGIN vocoder synth at 2:10 (shoutout Daft Punk FOR REAL) all make for the only answer to this question.
Deja Williams: In the recreation of Saturday Night Fever, Travolta would have no choice but to use “Is It True” as the anthem.
Ralph James: I completely agree that “Is It True” is likely the best option in this scenario, but I love playing the devil’s advocate. So in that case, I have to go with “Breathe Deeper” to maximize the inner disco in both Travolta and myself.
Sareena Katz: As far as albums go, Currents will always have a special place in my soul. Although Tame Impala has always fallen under the whole “psychedelic rock” category, I think Currents truly embodies that more than Lonerism ever did. This project opened up a vortex of new sounds that uplifted feelings of what I would call.... euphoria.... in all of its listeners. Kevin Parker had a way of manipulating my emotions through all of the songs on Currents. Something that not many records can do.
Evan Linden: I’d say “Tomorrow’s Dust” or “Is It True” if I’m on uppers; “On Track” or “Lost in Yesterday” if I’m on downers.
Let’s say you’re the A&R/Producer/Person Who Makes Suggestions to this genius of a man for this album. You get to pick one artist to feature on one song on this album. Who are you choosing and what song are they sliding in on?
Carter Ferryman: I don’t know if I can pick one particular song to throw a feature on (Kevin’s brilliant cohesion makes it hard to fit things in), but my only answer would be Tyler. IGOR and this album’s synths are synonymous on more than one occasion, his voice would just fit.
Deja Williams: I’d love to hear some John Mayer riffs on this record. I feel as though that duo was a creation handcrafted by God himself. Maybe on “Posthumous Forgiveness.”
Ralph James: Do you really expect me to say anybody other than Sir Frank Ocean? Let’s not overthink this. If I put him on “On Track” then I’d have myself a song that would singlehandedly shed all of the world’s anxiety in 5 minutes.
Sareena Katz: I would love to hear some vocals over “Glimmer.” Honestly, SZA’s voice over the dance track could sound beautifully angelic. She always says that Kevin Parker inspires her. I could also see Kid Cudi mixing well with this track... but maybe that’s because all I can see in my head is him dancing around his room to this song like he did on stage with MGMT during their 2018 Coachella set.
Evan Linden: Carter had a great idea in the Tyler feature; there’s definitely some IGOR vibes sprinkled throughout the album. Not to mention that that’d be an earth-shattering collaboration regardless. It’s hard to pick one particular song that a feature would fit on, as Kevin precisely crafts his songs to fit his own artistry. However, I can say that I would kill for a proper collaboration with either Kanye or Bon Iver, if not both. The two (or three) of them would make something literally out of this world - just imagine Kevin Parker’s trippy, pop alternative fused together with Justin Vernon’s folk alternative and Kanye West’s genre-transcending production. Tame and Frank would also be god-tier, but I won’t even get my hopes up about that one.
Okay, time to get even dreamier here: If you had the option to spend this Valentine’s Day with Kevin Parker and Rihanna, how many family members are you cutting ties with to do so? Name them. Put them on BLAST.
Carter Ferryman: None. I love my mom, dad and brother. I’d cut my dog off though, he’s kind of a prick.
Deja Williams: Having the option the spend V-Day with Kevin or Rihanna over my family is blatant disrespect to the people who’ve cared for me these short 21 years. Call me Annie because my whole family would be slain in the name of Hattori Hanzō.
Ralph James: P, mama, pops, Bella, you know that I adore each of you endlessly. But this is a once in a lifetime opportunity we’re talking about here. I won’t be able to cut you off permanently, but six or seven months? We can manage that, can’t we? I’ll make sure to get pictures, I promise.
Sareena Katz: No offense Mom and Dad but if I had the opportunity to spend even 10 minutes in a room with Kevin Parker and Rihanna, I’m cutting you guys off until the end of 2020. Sorry not sorry.
Evan Linden: I have some cousins that I’ve only met like three times, so I’ll go with them. Sorry guys.
Lastly, I know it’s early, but where does this album stand in comparison to his previous three?
Carter Ferryman: Tied for 2nd right now, pending further moves. I don’t think I can put it above Currents though, that’s a really tall ask. The album is wonderful, and I have nothing but the highest praise for one of our generation’s most talented artists.
Deja Williams: current rankings for tame albums:
2. The Slow Rush
Ralph James: Kevin has progressively became more introspective and vulnerable with each album, so that honesty and inner reflection really struck me on this one. Granted, I don’t think it’s fair to compare this to Lonerism or Currents quite yet, but after another week or so of thinking about it I think I’ll be comfortable slotting it in at number two right behind Currents.
Sareena Katz: It’s almost impossible for me to compare The Slow Rush to Tame Impala’s first three records. I kind of like to think of them all as separate pieces of work. ART. All I can say is that this album is going to have a special lil piece of my heart and soul from now on just like the rest of Tame Impala’s work does.
Evan Linden: Considering how much I adore Currents and grew to love Lonerism and Innerspeaker during the five-year Tame Impala drought, it’s really hard to decide on it this early. Tame Impala, much like pre-JIK Kanye, is an artist that doesn’t really have a “worst album”. They’re all just the levels of evolution from a mad genius. With The Slow Rush arguably being his most vulnerable and personal body of work to-date, I can already land on TSR being his most beautiful album.