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The 11 best Tame Impala songs

Why have a Top 10 when you can have one more? Here are our 11 favourite Tame Impala songs, ranked

For all its prominence in the late-60s and the Madchester resurgence in the 90s, perhaps no one has pushed psychedelic rock to the forefront of pop culture like Kevin Parker with Tame Impala. Yes, we know Tame Impala is one person.

Originating from the Perth garage rock scene in the late-00s, Parker has transformed Tame Impala into the world’s biggest stadium-fillers and festival headliners. As he brings his audio-visual spectacular to All Points East in London later this month, we’ve ranked 11 of our favourite Tame Impala tracks.

11. Tomorrow’s Dust

(The Slow Rush, 2020)

“And though I try, I do the same as though I must/ And in the air of today is tomorrow’s dust”. What a line. Tying into The Slow Rush’s exploration of time (far out, man), this multi-textural delight is a curious kind of song, almost hard to grasp until the melodic climax just after the two-minute mark. As an extra, there’s even the remnants of ‘Breathe Deeper’ at the end, another highlight from that record.

10. Half Full Glass Of Wine

(Tame Impala, 2008)

In 2008, Tame Impala signed with Modular Recordings, giving Parker a step up from Perth scenester to national fame. The first release with the label was self-titled (despite many assuming it was called Antares, Mira, Sun because… well that’s what it said on the cover), and among the 60s-esque psychedelia, this blues rock jam stood right out. That shift in tempo is simply begging for swathes of long-haired fans head nodding in unison.

9. Yes I’m Changing

(Currents, 2015)

Lyrically, Tame Impala’s third album centred on the idea of personal transition, but it also fittingly marked a significant change of direction in sound. With its steady pace, ‘Yes I’m Changing’ is probably one of the most understated tracks on a record full of big drops, synth blasts and rhythmic punches, yet it is the most emotionally concentrated in the whole Tame Impala oeuvre. The last minute and a half is just magical.

8. Patience

(Patience, 2019)

This aptly named breezy disco joint came four years after the release of Tame Impala’s Currents and had fans eating out of Parker’s hands. As scintillating as the glittery bongos on its cover, there’s a lot to love about ‘Patience’ as it finds a euphoric middle ground between a downtempo disco classic and the 90s dancefloor, as arpeggiated synths a la The Source trickle down like rainfall.

7. Sundown Syndrome

(Sundown Syndrome / Remember Me, 2009)

A deep cut but one that’s made its way back onto setlists in recent years. Recorded live at London’s world-famous Toe Rag Studios, ‘Sundown Syndrome’ is a sweeping bit of classic psych-rock with a Gainsbourg-esque grace and curiosity.

6. Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind

(InnerSpeaker, 2010)

Though in recent years Tame Impala releases have had an immediately inviting and amped-up shine, slow builds used to be a defining characteristic, as this one from InnerSpeaker proves. It’s the weirdly mesmerising synth that hangs almost oppressively over the gradually building dynamic and energy that gives the listener a kind of out-of-body experience.

5. Disciples

(Currents, 2015)

Honestly, this would have been further up the list had it just been longer. The way that lo-fi intro, which stands apart amid the newly glossy production of the rest of the record, drops into full definition half way through is pure bliss. It boggles the mind that Parker didn’t flesh this out into a full-length track, but maybe it’s exactly this brevity that makes it so enticing.

4. The Less I Know The Better

(Currents, 2015)

This might have made the top spot had we put together the list back when Currents was released. It was a song that turned many on to Tame Impala, and once they’d heard, boy did they play it a lot. But even if that opening bassline does induce a knee-jerk “Not this again”, it really is impossible not to get sucked into this funky teen heartbreak melodrama.

3. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

(Lonerism, 2012)

On the subject of unmistakable intros, those four organ hits at the beginning of this track are like a comforting signal to close your eyes, let go and fall into the hands of the cosmos. The very Beatles-like affection in Parker’s voice in the verses give ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backward’ even more of a topsy-turvy, dreamlike landscape.

2. Let It Happen

(Currents, 2015)

It was a close sprint to the finish, with not really not much between them. One encapsulated the quintessential Tame Impala sound, while the other, ‘Let It Happen’, signalled its future and took the band to international pop stardom. At almost eight minutes long, the virtue of this synth-pop odyssey is in its patience, slowly building to a glitchy climax before finally allowing a bombastic, confetti canon resolve.

1. Mind Mischief

(Lonerism, 2012)

Ultimately, ‘Mind Mischief’ tops this list for capturing the heady, summery joy inherent in Parker’s songwriting while also featuring some of his most engaging musical licks. From that timeless, harmonious riff that kicks everything off and the intricate drum work that punctuates it to the soaring final passage, there isn’t much better for gazing into the sky — or the depths of your mind.

The only Tame Impala UK concert of 2022 is at All Points East in Victoria Park, London on Thursday 25 August tickets are available here.