Tame Impala – “Elephant”
I was late to the Tame Impala party, finally discovering them in 2017 through a co-worker who played ‘Elephant’ for me – and it blew my mind. Who were these modern Beatles, playing their psychedelic hearts out, only to an even more addicting rhythm? The sheer confidence and craftsmanship made me a fan immediately, and I proceeded to download all their other albums without so much as even giving any of their other songs a listen. There’s only a handful of songs in the last decade that have had such an effect on me – it’s something we all experience, even if rarely – and it’s a damn fine feeling when it happens.
There’s a couple points where the song elevates its game. The first is the synth break between the opening two verses, right after the whispered line (here he comes). It’s such a refreshing moment on an album otherwise mired in abstract psychedelia (the best kind, mind you), and it takes up the entire middle of the track. Speaking of which, it’s kind of a cool song structure: verse-synth breakdown-verse, with no actual “chorus” to speak of. The second moment that I love is when they come back in with that final/second verse, where they add in some well-timed yeah‘s and alter the time signature and melodic progression. It’s truly stuff of genius, yet they make it seem so easy – like they just decided mid-song to shake things up. It’s astounding execution, and ever-so-dynamic. There’s not many artists out there making music like this right now.
Read more from this decade at my homepage for Sowing’s Songs of the Decade.