It’s strange to say that Tame Impala’s third album, Currents, is any sort of sleeper album, considering it has been one of the most anticipated albums of the year, and, and, like their last album, Lonerism, was universally well received. But, like Lonerism, it is an album that’s massive acclaim formed a barrier to my own listening.
Upon hearing the singles for Currents, I felt excited. It had taken me so long to get into Lonerism when it came out in 2012 that I’m still discovering tracks I like three years later. When “Let it Happen,” “Eventually,” and “’Cause I’m a Man,” came out there was a sense that Currents would immediately succeed for me where Lonerism initially failed. Then the release date rolled around. And I didn’t listen to it. When I did, I picked a song at random. And there it was again, some sort of barrier that kept me from getting past the first thirty seconds of the song. So, besides those first three singles, I gave up on Currents.
But Currents is a great album, and even after you’ve written it off, it can still sneak up on you. It happened a week or two ago, driving my mother to work, I was listening to a syndicated college radio program at the bottom of the dial, and I caught the end of “Let It Happen.” When I got home I played it again. Luckily for me, my music player was not on shuffle, because seamlessly the song transitioned into the album’s second track “Nangs.” And then, I was listening to the whole album.
Currents is a hard album to listen to at random. It’s hard to pick a single track that stands out head and shoulders above the rest. The album demands to be listened to as a complete whole. This is not to dismiss the individual tracks on the album. Great songs are the building blocks of a great album, but with Currents these great songs sound best when listened with each other. The songs are not made better by the album, the album is made great by the cohesion and quality of the songs. Currents is an album in a classic sense. Not every song is as strong as its singles, but the songs that are have the ability to surround the weaker ones, and elevate them and make them better. This is not to say that the album is composed of weak songs and as an overall uneven affair, it is just that everything adheres. For example, “Gossip” occurs right before the album’s middle. It is a fifty five second composition of ambient waves of sound with some guitar strumming. It is not the album’s greatest song. It is a good track(one that I enjoy very much), but as a song it is not great. But, when used as a transition between “Eventually” and “The Less I know the Better,” it is elevated.
It becomes more than a track, and instead is a part of the album as a whole. It is moments like this and the completeness of the album that make Currents such a great piece of music.
By Alex Sniatkowski