Last Valentine’s Day Leah Bury fell in love. Not with a man or a woman, with a record, Tame Impala’s forth album The Slow Rush. With time on her hands due to COVID and a desire to capture the visualizations the album conjured for her, Leah set out to create an original portrait for every song. This is a piece unlike anything we’ve done at MMH. These portraits are stunning and Leah’s analysis of the songs and the art it inspired is just moving. We have embedded the songs into the piece so you can enjoy the art with the music. Clear your schedules and enjoy this enchanting journey.
Valentine’s Day this year was very special for me because it was also my one-year anniversary.
That’s right, last Valentine’s Day (2020), Tame Impala released The Slow Rush, an album that quickly came to be one of my great loves. I enjoyed it right when it came out, but as the next few weeks came to pass and led into quarantine, which just went on and on and on and on (the slow, slow, slow rush), this album became an absolute staple for me.
This album, along with the one prior, Currents, provides a listening experience that transcends the auditory realm and takes me into the realm of full-on visualization. Vivid colors, imagery, and storylines play out in my mind when I hear it. And because I listened to it SO many times during early quarantine and because I had SO much time, I decided to make a piece of art inspired by each song off of the album.
So here we go. My review of The Slow Rush, seen through the lens of my artistic creations.
One More Year
This song brings us into the album with a hypnotic groove and discusses the passage of time and the hesitancy to make a change in life. For me personally, this song represents the very specific scene of what my life looked like before quarantine—lots of fun, partying, and vibrancy as I was enjoying my first year in Austin.
The lyrics read, “If there was trouble in the world, we didn’t know. If we had a care, it didn’t show.” And that’s how things felt. But deep down, all of the fun was ultimately unsustainable. I was having the experience of knowing that aspects of the fast-paced life were harming me. But it was so goddamn fun, so I didn’t stop. Kevin Parker sings,
Now I worry our horizon’s been nothing new
‘Cause I get this feeling and maybe you get it too
We’re on a rollercoaster stuck on its loop-de-loop
Cause what we did one day on a whim has slowly become all we do
This picture was meant to represent a true “living in the moment” mentality, where you find yourself choosing to stick in the quicksand of habits that won’t be good for you long term.
I’ve joked before by saying “Falling in love? Doesn’t seem like something I’d do.” Sometimes I, as many others do, like to make fun of the ickiness of people in love. But, deep down, I’m a hopeless romantic. This song touches on the idea of finding yourself in that position of being in love and becoming that person who you used to roll your eyes at.
Kevin sings, “Traffic doesn’t seem quite as annoying, I’m quite alright,” expressing the way all the things we used to be irritated by seem to fade away when we’re blissfully in love. He also hints at the idea of getting his lover’s name tattooed on his arm. This piece is supposed to represent that psychedelic feeling of falling in love, where you just want to lie down and bask in its glow.
“Borderline” is undoubtedly a bop—but under the surface, it’s actually pretty self-reflective. Kevin speaks on finding a high and then questioning it, on finding fame and recognition, but still wondering if he will ever truly be known and loved.
This piece is supposed to represent a feeling of being separated from reality—out in space, to speak, while still turning your face towards bright lights of fun and fame. Sitting somewhere high up and just thinking about what it all means, and if you’ll ever be pulled back to Earth.
I don’t even know how to express how fucking amazing this song is. Kevin tackles such a fragile topic—his tormented relationship with his father. The first part of the song is a somber reflection on his anger towards how distant his father was while he was still alive. The second part is a redirection—the song becomes upbeat, and Kevin begins to realize, in waves of maturity, that his father was a man with struggles just like him. He sings,
I wanna say, “It’s all right,” you’re just a man after all
And I know you had demons, I got some of my own
I think you passed them along
Wanna tell you ’bout the time, wanna tell you ’bout my life
Wanna play you all my songs, and hear your voice sing along
I mean…my goodness.
This piece represents the bridge that Kevin is able to build back to his father with the perspective he has now as an adult. Although his father was tormented and clouded, Kevin (represented as me/a woman in this image, like many of the others), is able to forgive, to turn rain into a rainbow, and to find a posthumous connection with him.
This song is very much an “I have anxiety sometimes but don’t you for a second doubt that I can handle my shit, hold my own, and live a colorful life” anthem. Kevin sings, “Seems you’re coming on, breathe a little deeper should you need to come undone, and let those colours run.” This image is meant to represent taking the time to breathe deeply, resulting in growth and vibrant colors.
This song is all about living in the moment, and not letting the past cloud your present reality. Time is always passing so fast, and if we spend too much time worrying about the past, our tomorrow quickly fades into dust before our eyes. This piece showcases that feeling of melting into the present and trying to stay in front of the dust of the past.
This song is all about feeling behind but then giving yourself the grace to recognize that you’re on the right path and you’ve come a long way. Kevin sings,
But strictly speaking, I’m still on track
Strictly speaking, I’m holding on
One other minor setback
But strictly speaking, I’m still on track
And all of my dreams are still in sight
Strictly speaking, I’ve got my whole life
I lost a wheel a while back
But strictly speaking, I’m still on track
Trouble keeps falling in my lap
Strung out again, but still on track
This piece shows that the past is warped and sticky, but staying on track is all that matters.
Lost in Yesterday
In this song, Kevin speaks of the past, and how we should keep positive memories, but leave the negative ones “lost in yesterday.” Of memories, he sings, “’Cause if they call you, embrace them. If they hold you, erase them.” This piece is meant to represent what happens if you let yourself be held back by negative memories—you’ll find yourself trapped in the weeds of the past, tied to a darker version of yourself.
Is it True?
On “Is It True?” Kevin wrestles with the idea of professing his love to someone. He fears that he can’t truly know if his love is real or just a passing phase or mood. “We started talkin’ ’bout devotion, the kind that goes on eternally. And I tell her I’m in love with her, but how can I know that I’ll always be?”
This piece represents the object of Kevin’s affections, who is stuck in a limbo of wondering if his love is true or not. I was inspired by the “he loves me, he loves me not” game, where one picks petals off a flower saying, “He loves me, he loves me not,” and whatever is said on the last petal is the truth.
It Might Be Time
To me, this song is the conclusion to One More Year and is about finally coming to the realization that it is time to put an end to endless partying and reckless behavior. Kevin sings, “It might be time to face it, it ain’t as fun as it used to be, no. You’re goin’ under, you ain’t as young as you used to be.” This piece represents finally looking truthfully at yourself and realizing that you don’t quite like what you see.
This song has barely any words, which is fitting because there are no words to describe how it makes me feel. It literally sounds like a glimmer. Just floaty, glimmery, shiny vibes. A song you just want to dance to, and maybe lose your earthly form and become pure euphoric energy to. This piece is meant to capture that feeling.
One More Hour
In this song, Kevin reflects on beginning a new chapter in his life and accepting the passage of time and the changing nature of life. He finds a sense of peace and gratitude at having found love and expresses a sense of ease and curiosity for what the next chapter of his life could bring. This piece is meant to represent our lifeline—with the literal imagery of a lifeline, a beating heart. But also our lifeline as in the passage of time. Time passing can be scary, but if we let it flow naturally, it will create the soil needed for beautiful things to grow.