Tame Impala Releases “The Slow Rush B-Sides & Remixes”
On February 18th, Australian psych-rock legend Kevin Parker released the b-sides and remixes of Tame Impala’s 2020 album, The Slow Rush. Featuring one new single (“The Boat I Row”), two previously released singles (“No Choice” and “Breathe Deeper – Lil Yachty Remix”), four remixes, and the pre-album single “Patience,” The Slow Rush B-Sides & Remixes is a must-listen for any Tame Impala fan. The Slow Rush was Grammy-nominated and full of incredible psychedelic pop and neo-psychedelia, and these b-sides and remixes are outstanding.
“The Boat I Row” has the same energy as The Slow Rush track “Posthumous Forgiveness,” but it could also very easily live on Tame Impala’s 2015 masterpiece, Currents. The only thing that firmly cements it in The Slow Rush era is its lyrical content. Where Currents was focused primarily on heartbreak, loss, and rebirth, The Slow Rush focused more on the passage of time, nostalgia, and fear of stagnation in his craft. “The Boat I Row” is absolutely rooted in the latter set. With lyrics that acknowledge Parker’s self-doubt and personal determination as well as sounds that are reminiscent of the psychedelic opus that is “Posthumous Forgiveness,” “The Boat I Row” sets itself firmly in this era of Tame Impala’s music, and it makes me wonder how it became a b-side.
“No Choice” is a song that sounds like The Slow Rush with lyrical influences from the Lonerism and Innerspeaker eras – which, of course, would make sense because Kevin can obviously draw on himself as an influence. An anthem of hopelessness, “No Choice” features multiple guitar solos over funky basslines, phenomenally intricate drumming, and atmospheric keyboards. Again, as with the Currents B-Sides & Remixes, I’m left to wonder exactly how Kevin Parker makes the cuts he does on the tracklists. “No Choice” would fit perfectly in the flow of The Slow Rush, so I’d love to pick his brain about it at some point.
The Lil Yachty remix of “Breathe Deeper” is basically the original song but with Lil Yachty vocals over the top. Honestly, it works better than initially thought. “Breathe Deeper” is one of the more dance-focused tracks on The Slow Rush, so in one sense it would work to have rapped verses over it. In another sense, it doesn’t seem like it would really work to distract from the danceability. Fortunately, Lil Yachty understands this, and says a few times in his verses “shut the fuck up and dance.” This remix works because Lil Yachty knows when to go hard, when to be more pensive, and when to get out of the way. His verses have some questionable lines, but for the most part, his flows work over “Breathe Deeper”’s piano-centric groove.
Then comes the strangest addition to the remix album that actually makes it almost as long as the original album: an eighteen-minute club remix of opening track “One More Year.” While it absolutely would work in a club, it does get a little trying at times to just listen to it without distraction. The remixed elements are incredible, but it does feel sometimes like it just takes too long to get anywhere. In a club, though, this would be perfect, so it gets a pass. Same with the Maurice Fulton remix of “Patience.” As I’ll get into later, “Patience” means the world to me in its original state, so the remix seems a bit unnecessary. It’s a cool edition to this compilation, though.
The two remixes that absolutely blow me away are the Four Tet remix of “Is It True” and the Blood Orange remix of “Borderline.” The former gives the song a more dreamlike quality, and that haze makes the questioning in Parker’s lyrics hit home more than they did before. Four Tet knows what to do to make a song dreamy, and “Is It True” fits perfectly into Four Tet’s mould. As for the Blood Orange remix, Dev Hynes can do no wrong. On this remix, he turns “Borderline” into a soulful ballad akin to his work on Freetown Sound or Negro Swan. How a man can turn a psychedelic pop track into soul music, I don’t understand. I just know it works incredibly well.
And finally: “Patience.” “Patience” changed my life when I first heard it. While it sonically doesn’t cover any particularly new ground for music in general, it heralded the new direction for Tame Impala in 2019, and it lyrically described my life in 2019 to a t. “Patience” gave me hope. “Patience” gave me strength. “Patience” reminded me that everyone takes life at their own pace and that no one should ever feel too far ahead or too far behind, which I absolutely needed at that point. “Patience” is the main reason I’m going to be purchasing The Slow Rush Deluxe Boxset, which I all recommend you do as well. The Slow Rush was an exceptional album from 2020, and these b-sides and remixes make it even stronger.
Check out the new tracks and remixes below, and let us know what you think!