I had never really been that big of a rock fan until I heard Tame Impala. I enjoyed a few songs here and there but mainly thought of rock music as something of the past. Whenever someone said they listened to rock music I only really thought of the albums loaded in the disc changer of my dad’s car. My friend’s were more open minded than me. On a fast food run a friend of mine asked if he could play some music and not wanting to be one of those people that hogs the aux, I obliged. He played Tame Impala’s “Mind Mischief” and jamming out to that song in the drive through of McDonald’s is probably one of my top five music related experiences. I spent the rest of the day listening to the song and it proved to be a gateway to a new genre of music for me to appreciate.
“Mind Mischief” in my opinion is the perfect introduction to Tame Impala’s psychedelic sound. The opening guitar riffs are soaked in reverb and are the perfect invitation to turn up the volume. The grimy instrumentation pairs great with Kevin Parker’s high-pitched, echoey vocals. The instrumentation does a fantastic job of creating an ethereal atmosphere, and to think it was all done by just one person makes it all the more impressive. Parker created each sound heard on this song and and the whole album with no outside help and in his own bedroom studio. This is not usual among musicians although it is usually something one might find a bedroom producer like Madlib doing, not someone like Parker. It’s this practice of self-seclusion that made Parker’s story and his album, “Lonerism,” so interesting to me. Collaboration sometimes leads to compromise and it’s fun listening to a song where you know the artist’s ideas haven’t been compromised. The sonic themes that are heard on “Mind Mischief” are constant throughout the album but, I believe all the psychedelic, bright sounds on “Lonerism” culminate best on this song.
“Mind Mischief” sees Parker telling the story of a someone in a one-sided relationship. The speaker is infatuated with this other woman but the feelings were not mutual. Parker has never been known as a lyricist and while just reading off the lyrics they might seem a little simple, it’s Parkers delivery and the instrumentation behind it that make this song so great. The mesmerization the speaker feels towards this person are captured perfectly by the euphoric sounds that are used throughout the song. The “dream pop”-esque guitar and synth melodies as well as the occasional quick, crunchy drum roll capture the highs of a short lived, intense relationship. The music video for this song fits that theme as it depicts a schoolboy having a psychedelic, drug-fueled affair with his teacher along with song particularly trippy imagery.
“Mind Mischief” was my gateway to new genres of music and for good reason. Tame Impala has a lot of cross-over appeal it seems, as hip hop artists like Travis Scott and Theophilus London have their own collaborations with Parker. He seems to be breaking away from his trend of isolation and while that means his sound will change I’m excited to see the different directions that Tame Impala is going, even if I always seen to be going back to “Lonerism.” While this track might not be as ground-breaking or as influential to others as it is to me. One would have to admit the instrumentation on the song, while not really that innovative, is extremely solid and well worth a listen if you haven’t heard it before. Hearing it once was all I needed to listen to “Lonerism” on repeat for days and I hope it does that you as well. (And if you liked “Lonerism” just wait until you hear “Currents.”)