A few days ago, Tame Impala released their new single ‘Let It Happen’ . It’s the first taste of the band’s highly anticipated follow up to 2012’s critically acclaimed Lonerism. If you haven’t heard it yet, drop everything you’re doing and listen to it right now. If you have, you’ve probably been listening to little else since.
‘Let It Happen’ is a grooving 7 minute and 49 second chemically warped dance floor banger. Guitars don’t prominently appear until 7:13 and at one point the vocals are seemingly autotuned. Yeah, it’s a change of direction. The artwork tells you all you need to know; black and white lines have replaced the archetypal technicoloured image of the band playing in front of a setting sun. This is not the sound of the sun disappearing over the horizon at the height of summer, this is a song made for a smoke filled dance floor at 2am. And it’s fucking brilliant.
“It’s always around me, all this noise” sings Kevin Parker in the opening line, before adding “but it’s not nearly as loud as the voice saying ‘let it happen, let it happen.’”
Like all Parker’s best lyrics there is a clear double meaning here. On one hand, there is the typical introspection and self-doubt that has characterised his lyrical style to date. Viewed in this light Parker is succinctly noting the internal struggle that anyone who suffers from chronic self-doubt or anxiety can attest to; trying to silence internal white noise by consistently telling oneself to live in the moment will ultimately prove to be just as self-defeating.
However, on the other hand, the lyric is pure hedonism. The dark synths, sporadic claps and muted troughs that gently glide in and out throughout the song give the meaning of ‘Let it Happen’ clarity: ignore everyone else in the crowd and let the chemicals take hold. The fact that later in the song Parker sings “I can hear an alarm; it must be morning” bluntly point out what class of chemicals he’s referring to.
The highlight undoubtedly comes at 3:50 when the synth line that underpins the song’s first half loops and orchestral waves start to crash on top of one another. The song then transports you off somewhere deep into the night sky for a moment that feels like a lifetime before suddenly dropping you right back into the thick of the synth, the lights and that beat. It’s the sonic equivalent of utterly losing yourself in a crowd of 20,000 people at a festival before consciousness comes surging back and everything seems to be in technicolour and surround sound. It is truly brilliant. And if you think the studio version is good, just wait until they play it live.
Words By: Jacob Reynolds