Tame Impala have been on the forefront of Psychedelic Rock for over a decade now, and Kevin Parker is showing no signs of stopping. There have been some really great songs in the band’s relatively fresh career – what are my top 20 tracks of theirs?
I won’t be doing any of my trademark tiers this time, it’s just a ranking of my favourite 20 Tame Impala songs. Also, this goes without saying, but this will be a very subjective list – your favourite song probably didn’t make the cut, I’m afraid (maybe it was their 21st best song?).
You can check out some of my related blog posts below:
20 – Patience
One of the singles leading up to “The Slow Rush”, and at the time I was slightly disappointed that “Patience” didn’t make the final album (but now I realise that it doesn’t quite fit, and is better as a single anyway).
While the piano can get a little bit annoying, everything else about the track is marvellous – especially the bridge sections, my favourite part of the song.
19 – It Might Be Time
“It Might Be Time” has a little bit of a “Losing My Edge” vibe to it, as Kevin Parker comes to terms with fame and obscurity.
The drums and synths are thumping, and the lyrics are some of the most anthemic he’s ever done.
18 – I Don’t Really Mind
A gem from Tame Impala’s debut album, “I Don’t Really Mind” feels like one of their most psychedelic songs ever.
The production on this album can feel a little canny and outdated, but it gives the drums a unique sound that fits the psychedelic tones.
17 – Borderline
At first I thought the melody to “Borderline” was too simple for me to enjoy it, but nowadays I appreciate it for the simple yet effective tune it is.
It’s Tame Impala at their most “mainstream”, and while that might turn people off I’m just glad people are starting to listen to this great band.
16 – Endors Toi
I think Tame Impala should do more of these instrumental-heavy tracks, as “Endors Toi” feels completely fresh and unique within their discography.
Those synth stabs are phenomenal, and once Parker’s vocals come in halfway through it feels like the song is complete.
15 – Why Won’t They Talk To Me?
Sometimes I feel Kevin Parker’s lyrics are at their best when he’s feeling insecure about his social life, and “Why Won’t They Talk To Me?” is a great example of that.
It sums up the themes of anxiety across “Lonerism” perfectly, all while providing an awesome and catchy chorus riff.
14 – Lost In Yesterday
One of the biggest hits from the band’s recent album, it’s the catchy bassline to “Lost In Yesterday” that lifts it up a level.
Though some of “The Slow Rush” took me some time to get used to, this track was one of the first ones that I fell in love with for it’s instantly memorable groove.
13 – ‘Cause I’m A Man
I’m not sure if many other people like this track as much as I do, but the guitar work and huge choruses have always stuck out to me on “‘Cause I’m A Man”.
The over-saturated vocals and synths give this song a unique sound that I’ve hardly heard anywhere before, and the sweeping instrumental parts are to die for.
12 – Be Above It
The opening track to “Lonerism”, it takes a little while for “Be Above It” to really get started, but once it does it blows your socks off with the massive synth sounds.
It’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard before, and it clues the listener in that this album will be an experience like no other.
11 – One More Year
From one opening track to another, and “One More Year” kicked off “The Slow Rush” with one of the most fun, most laid-back summer vibes you’ve ever heard.
Kevin Parker says he imagines this song playing at night on a warm beach – and I couldn’t have summed it up better myself.
10 – Mind Mischief
It’s the drum fills that make “Mind Mischief” so good, and coupled with the huge bass sound the rhythm section is excellent throughout.
There’s a sort of nerdy youthfulness to this track that the band would lean in to heavier on “Currents”, but this is a fun first step.
9 – Breathe Deeper
That opening groove is absolutely sensational, and the choruses to “Breathe Deeper” are some of the most danceable Tame Impala have ever done.
It’s quite a long track, but the sick instrumental section at the end justifies its existence and length.
8 – Desire Be Desire Go
Their debut album “Innerspeaker” doesn’t have too many great songs on it, but “Desire Be Desire Go” has always been one of my favourites.
The guitar riffs are some of the rawest and garage-y Tame Impala have ever done, and the under-produced nature of the whole track gives it its charm.
7 – Is It True
My favourite song from Tame Impala’s recent album “The Slow Rush”, “Is It True” is a track I fell in love with almost instantly.
It has possibly my favourite recurring groove out of any Tame Impala track, and the vocals are some of the catchiest Kevin Parker has ever done.
6 – Apocalypse Dreams
The marching drum beat hooks you in within seconds, but it’s the ridiculously bombastic choruses that keep me coming back to “Apocalypse Dreams” again and again.
At first I thought this track was a little bloated and self-important, but it gets better with every listen. The final few minutes of instrumental goodness is a highlight of Tame Impala’s entire discography.
5 – New Person, Same Old Mistakes
One of Kevin Parker’s best lyrics ever, “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” is the classic problem that every growing person can relate to.
It helps that it also has one of the band’s catchiest synth hooks to date, and the drums are as enticing as ever. A great way to end “Currents”.
4 – Elephant
Now we get onto the top four Tame Impala songs, and all of them have a decent shout at being some of my favourite tracks of all time. The first of these is the anthemic “Elephant”, with a core beat so good that it’s not surprising it works so well when played live in stadiums.
It’s simplistic yet captivating, psychedelic yet classic rock, and the bass / drum groove carries you through the entire thing. One of my favourite rock songs of the 2010’s.
3 – The Less I Know The Better
Tame Impala’s most famous song, “The Less I Know The Better” has a killer bassline and some slick lyrics that anyone can sing along to.
Kevin Parker almost dropped it from the tracklist, thinking it was too cliché and nerdy – was he insane?!? It’s an absolute banger!
2 – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
Kevin Parker’s first masterpiece, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” is psychedelic, garage rock at its very best.
Every time I listen to this song I get transported to another world, and I can feel the sonic textures reverberating in my skull. The final minute where the song keeps crescendo-ing is one of my favourite music outros of all time.
1 – Let It Happen
It’s absolutely mind-boggling just how good the opening track to “Currents” is – I’d even go as far as saying it would crack my top 100 songs of all time.
Even though it’s one of the band’s longest songs, I never get bored of the journey it takes me on. The lyrics are phenomenal, and each unique section of the track blows my mind with every listen.
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