After 2012’s Lonerism was released to critical acclaim, a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album, and earned Album of the Year through several publications such as Rolling Stone, NME, and Filter, Tame Impala have a lot to live up to. The first taste of their last album, Currents, is “Let It Happen,” and it finds Tame Impala recombining their love of electronics and 70s guitar grooves to remarkable new levels.
“Let It Happen” feels like rejuvenating for the Australian psychedelic rockers. Its ease and relaxed opening, coupled with gorgeously produced bass nods and tight keyboards, find Tame Impala back to where they left off. During the opening verse, the music begins to fade ever so slightly, as Kevin Parker effortlessly whimpers, “Just let it happen, let it happen.” His vocals drip smoothly like thick paint down a wall. When the chorus picks up, Parker is aided by gorgeously sincere backing vocals and translucent synths that add a layer of depth to their already expanding horizons.
Parker’s lyrics point towards him trying to make sense of his current situations and his placement in life. “All this running around / Trying to cover my shadow / An ocean growing inside / All the others seem shallow.” Obviously, one can never hide or cover their own shadow, and Parker is realizing that there are some aspects of life that you cannot control. Sometimes, letting go of control is the most control you can have. Later on he sings, “All this running around / I can’t fight it much longer / Something’s trying to get out / And it’s never been closer.” The personal struggle between having the time to achieve all your dreams while also having time for self-care and space is a tricky balance that mostly caters to one-side over the other. Thus, Parker feels like his inner turmoil doesn’t match his outer world around him, and he feels off-kilter, as if he’s about to snap.
The gorgeous fragility of the song teemed with Parker’s on-edge lyricism creates a trepid landscape that allows for Tame Impala to explore darker and more introspective regions than ever before. Halfway into the near eight-minute track, a droning, electronic organ plays, which signifies the density and bleakness of Parker’s mindset. The song then picks back up with handclaps, an infectiously pleasing keyboard groove, and chopped up, spatial vocals. The arch of the song feels like a slick ride through a lucid and lush vortex.
“Let It Happen” is a triumphant return for Tame Impala. It’s a fresh, new journey for a band that seems to always be expanding their reach and diving further to new musical heights. The track ends on a positive and relinquishing note for the weary Parker, as he sings, “Maybe I was ready all along.”