2019 is the year for Tame Impala fans. The group's 2015 album Currents made waves in the psychedelic rock scene, and the recent releases of both their single “Patience" and SZA's “Together,” which features Tame Impala, coupled with the hints of a new album, has fans on the edge of their seats, if not already standing in wait. Hot off their new song release, “Borderline,” Kevin Parker and Tame Impala headlined Coachella for these past couple of weeks. “Borderline” cements where Kevin Parker is moving Tame Impala, and the upcoming album will continue this theme.
On this synth and percussion–heavy track, Nu–disco sound is combined with that of 60’s psychedelic rock. Experimental elements and Parker’s new vocal style breathe life into the song. Ignoring the strength in the guitar of their first studio album, InnerSpeaker, Parker is making a statement. Tame Impala is back to synth–heavy, balanced percussion and vocal exploration. The instrumentals of “Borderline” deserve heavy praise for refreshing the group's sound while still sounding clean and brilliant. This track may push Tame Impala to a more pop–heavy sound, but it's done graciously and is reminiscent of Reflektor–era Arcade Fire. From the initial beat to the final notes from that magical electric piano, the instrumental keeps the listener hooked.
“Borderline” pushes the audience into Los Angeles, where they are greeted by the uncomfortable truth of the City of Angels. Drugs, sex, and rock–and–roll are at the forefront, and the self–critical and lonesome protagonist of this story doesn’t feel like a friend. “Borderline” explores the age–old ideas of nihilism and being unsure of oneself. It doesn’t feature a big narrative or some grand meaning, as “Borderline” is about the opposite—the lack of meaning, and the embrace of tragedy upon that realization. Everything else becomes ethereal, and the percussion continues to grip you fiercely as Parker’s hazy voice drifts straight through the beat into your mind.
Finally, this feeling is over, and we are greeted by the subtle guitar and instrumental tonality that Tame Impala has perfected in the studio. No point in “Borderline” is dull, and Parker proves that silence can be captivating, as the track fades to black. “Borderline” captures motionless life, supplying us with despair rather than giving hope. It’s more personal, aggressively distant, making listeners take a look into their own lives. Mundane actions are not acceptable, and spontaneity is how one breaks free.
After “Patience,” “Borderline” is exciting. Currents and Lonerism left everyone wanting more, and recent releases haven’t been the needed hit. An exciting new track, “Borderline” continues the exploration of early psychedelic with a modern stance and explores the gray area in life. If the uptick from “Patience” to “Borderline” is representative of the new album, Tame Impala fans are going to be happy.