Tame Impala On The Meaning of 'Lonerism'
The clearest example of this is "Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control," a meditative seven-minute jam containing a bit of inspirational dialogue inspired by teen romantic comedies. At about two minutes in, the music is muffled and you hear Parker's girlfriend say, "What are you doing out here? You're out here thinking about everything aren't you? I know it's crazy, but don't think of it like that. Nothing has to mean anything." Parker says his intention was to make it sound like it was taking place outside of a party or a high school dance. It's one of the strangest and most flooring moments you'll hear in rock music this year.
Every song on Lonerism is written, recorded and performed by Parker, and you'd think they'd be difficult to recreate for a live show. Luckily the touring members of Tame Impala are just as seasoned as Parker and help expand the songs even further outside their original bounds. During the show at Webster Hall last Saturday, "Half Full Glass of Wine," from their first EP, stretched out to nearly ten minutes for a gripping one-song encore. When Parker goes in for the solo and lapses into periodic trances a la Jimmy Page, bassist Nick Allbrook is right behind him keeping things steady on a vintage Hofner. Most of the members have known each other for over a decade, and when he's not touring with Tame Impala, Parker lends a hand on drums in Allbrook's band Pond.
Parker confirms that his move to Paris helped make Lonerism a more personal affair. The album is clearly more narrowly defined as a concept, and though there's a through-line of existential angst and uncertainty, he seems cheerful discussing its warm reception. Parker says he set out to originally make an album that critics would hate, so the glowing reviews from Rolling Stone and Spin are unexpected. When asked if it's difficult adjusting to the isolation that songwriting requires, he says: "I have to be alone to be able to write the type of music I want for Tame Impala." Clearly there's an upside to being a loner.
Tame Impala performs Friday, Nov. 16th at the El Rey Theatre and Saturday, Nov. 17th at the Fonda Theatre.