h

The best Tame Impala songs, ranked for your enjoyment

Dissecting the psych wunderkinds track-by-track.

The kings of 21st century psychedelia, Tame Impala have ridden a tornado to the top since first emerging with their fuzzy debut EP, Tame Impala H.I.T.S 003, in 2008. The six-track release revealed a young outfit at the base of a mountain, not fully aware of their potential and the flood of success that loomed.

As Kevin Parker refined his understanding of psychedelic rock and its malleability, the Tame Impala beast was propelled. Innerspeaker came in all its buzzsaw beauty, Lonerism confronted us with more pop sensibilities, then came Currents. A trip to the stars with a DJ at your side; Parker had found his groove with Ableton his next-door neighbour.

For the Perth wunderkinds, the forecast appears more adventurous and technological as the band look for more oddities to embellish their music. As we dissect Tame Impala’s whirlwind ride and the joy it has brought us all, here’s the band’s best tracks ranked from top to bottom.

1. ‘Half Full Glass Of Wine’ (2008)

The opening chords of ‘Half Full Glass of Wine’ bring back fond memories, it’s the archetype of early Tame Impala staring you right in the face and you can’t deny its importance. The recording of Innerspeaker was crucial to the creation of Tame Impala's identity, a process which would characterise their works going forward.

2. ‘Desire Be Desire Go’ (2008)

Upon stepping out of ‘It Is Not Meant To Be’, your face has already melted by cosmic psychedelia but you can't help but go again. Like retreating from a mosh pit, instantly regretting it and then jumping back in, ‘Desire Be Desire Go’ is a live dream with all its hooks and meandering arrangements.

3. ‘Keep On Lying’ (2012)

A minimal wave, ‘Keep On Lying’ separates Lonerism’s two pillars, ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ and ‘Elephant’, but it is far from rudimentary. As Parker’s opening vocals wash away amongst the haze, arguably the band’s most infectious instrumental section introduces itself -- ‘who’s that laughing and gossiping in the background?’

4. ‘Let It Happen’ (2015)

Three years after Lonerism and eager TI fans received a gift -- ‘Let It Happen’ emerged and a new capability of psychedelic music was realised. A Kevin Parker masterpiece.

5. ‘Elephant’ (2012)

Like a sugar-high kid bouncing his basketball over and over again in your neighbour’s yard, the chug of ‘Elephant’ won’t relent. The chug becomes a roar and you have one of the greatest chorus’ in contemporary psychedelia.

6. ‘The Less I Know The Better’ (2015)

As much as the Tame Impala traditionalist wanted this track pushed right down the end of this list, you can’t deny its charming pop sensibilities. Mainstream listeners have their way in.

7. ‘It Is Not Meant To Be’ (2010)

Positioned supremely at the top of Innerspeaker, ‘It Is Not Meant To Be’ is the quintessential opener. Take a ride in the back of a convertible, this track’s taking you to the beach with an honest midsection bridging hypnotic bookends.   

8. ‘Mind Mischief’ (2012)

An adored cut from Lonerism, ‘Mind Mischief’ presents a stellar drum loop and magnetic bass line. It canters along at half-pace, but that’s the unpredictability of Tame Impala at work. Bravo boys.

9. ‘Solitude Is Bliss’ (2010)

The tendency of Tame Impala to create titanic intros doesn’t relent on ‘Solitude Is Bliss’, a sneaky pop shrub amongst chaotic trees. Like a friend who decides to sit a drug trip out, Parker murmurs “You will never come close to how I feel” and suddenly, the FOMO is real.

10. ‘Eventually’ (2015)

“Eventually, ahhhhhhhhhh.” It was released in 2015 and still, this hook swims through the brain and nestles in the crevices. Dive in friends.

11. ‘Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?’ (2010)

As Julien Barbagallo dilly dallies with the opening drum fill, Cameron Avery comes over the top with an irresistible bass line. This is ‘Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?’ performed live and how we wish it appeared more often on the stage. Grandiose in its minimalism, such charm is intensified by Erol Alkan’s stunning rework. Check it out.  

12. ‘Be Above It’ (2012)

Toing and froing to the opening churn of ‘Be Above It’ is like riding a high-speed jet train through the Chinese countryside. Bouncing along, reducing your neck to a swivel -- and that’s why this track is so memorable. ‘Speak louder Kevin’ … ‘No, I’m gonna whisper.’

13. ‘The Moment’ (2015)

A summery, delectable capsule of Tame Impala’s thrill-seeking 2015 album, Currents, ‘The Moment’ is so cosy and delicious it’s the ‘hazelnut in caramel’ in every Cadbury Roses box. It picks up where ‘Nangs’ left off, momentarily steering the record back in line.

14. ‘Lucidity’ (2010)

Is this The Beatles? Kevin Parker scours the seminal rock band with a fine-tooth comb and arrives with ‘Lucidity’. This isn't the only Beatles-esque foray on Innerspeaker, but it's certainly one of note -- frantic and ambitious.

15. ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ (2012)

One of the most underrated tracks on Lonerism, ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ is buttery in its musicality and hopeful in its lyricism. Eventually, Parker gets caught up in his hypnosis -- “Well, am I getting closer? / Will I ever get there? / Does it even matter? / Do I really need it?”. The perfect introductory song for someone learning the Tame Impala ropes.

16. ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ (2012)

People love this song, with a strong emphasis on the word ‘love’. It bears a humdrum, repetitive rhythm section but Parker gets in your head as he constantly repeats the song’s title over and over again. One of the band’s few ballads, ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ is adored because of its simplicity.   

17. ‘Remember Me’ (2009)

Do you remember the stellar dance track ‘Remember Me’ by Blue Boy. It’s ignited dancefloors the world over and Parker couldn’t help but get his paws on it. He decorated it with ultimate precision and we are so very lucky for that.

18. ‘Canyons Sunrise Reprise’ (2010)

20 songs and the Innerspeaker Collector’s Edition has done its dash -- ‘Can I listen to Unknown Mortal Orchestra or King Gizz now?’. But that’s when the most experienced revel, and ‘Sundown Syndrome’ spin-off ‘Canyons Sunrise Reprise’ is an intellect’s boasting point. Parker had started his electronic journey very early on and only the most committed fans would know.

19. ‘Nangs’ (2015)

‘Nangs’ is often overlooked. People tend to regard it as a bridge between tracks and click next on this number, which only elbows 90 seconds. Wedged between ‘Let It Happen’ and ‘The Moment’, ‘Nangs’ floods listeners back to early Tame Impala and listeners find some relief after Currents’ meteoric opening track.  

20. ‘Why Won’t They Talk To Me?’ (2012)

You’re lost amongst the woods, looking for a way home. ‘Why Won’t They Talk To Me?’ is about feeling out of place but quickly moving on and proving doubters wrong. A simple but great message and what a rhythmical journey with its bubbling undercurrents.