Crate Digging Weekly: “Lonerism,” Tame Impala’s most underrated album and its hidden meanings

“‘Lonerism’ is often overshadowed by the further success ‘Currents’ had in the U.S., but it really shouldn’t, as the messages behind the album are something that many people can identify with,” says Editor-In-Chief Colby Guy.


Album cover courtesy of Modular Recordings.

Colby Guy, Editor-in-Chief

While most people refer to 2015’s “Currents” as Tame Impala’s best album and most noteworthy work, 2012’s “Lonerism” is underappreciated and should also be in that same conversation.

“Lonerism” reached as high as No. 34 on the charts in the United States and was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. It also received critical acclaim overseas, winning Best Rock Album and Album of the Year at the 2013 ARIA Awards.

“Currents” also received even more critical acclaim, reaching No. 4 on the charts in the U.S. and being nominated for the Best Alternative Music Album at the Grammy Awards. “Lonerism” is often overshadowed by the further success “Currents” had in the U.S., but it really shouldn’t, as the messages behind the album are something that many people can identify with.

The psychedelic pop album takes you on a trip through the mind of an introvert. The mastermind behind the band, Kevin Parker, shares his experiences as an introvert and the things he goes through while fighting his battles.

One of the songs that shows this experience the most is the track “Why Won’t They Talk To Me?”

In this song, Parker realizes that he needs human connection. He isn’t being accepted for who he is and he’s tired of pretending to be someone else. Throughout the song, he questions his loneliness and his place in the world.

“Out of this zone, trying to see / I’m so alone, nothing for me / I guess I’ll go home, try to be sane / Try to pretend, none of it happened / Oh, this old tree, lonely old me”

In these lyrics, Parker is sharing his experiences of trying to get out of this zone of being alone, a safe space he’s had, and is trying to break through it. However, through that experience, he is deterred because he ends up alone and decides to give up and go home.

A lot of people can attest to what Parker is saying. People struggle with living up to society’s standards and a lot of times, you have to pretend to be someone you’re not to be accepted. It’s a tiring experience.

The need for human connection is a necessity, but at the end of the day, I’m tired of being someone I’m not, just like Parker is.

My favorite song on the album is Apocalypse Dreams, and it’s a song I can personally identify with.

The song is a battle where Parker realizes that things are changing and he is worried about uncertainty. He worries about the future in this song and feels like things are out of his control and I can identify with this myself.

Especially during a pandemic, it seems like all of us are living through this song. We live through times of economic uncertainty and for college students like myself, we’re often unsure about whether or not we’ll be able to get a job when we graduate.

That sense of no control is amplified by the chorus of the song, “Everything is changing / And there’s nothing I can do / My world is turning pages / While I am just sitting here.”

With the world around us changing, especially during this pandemic, it’s often hard to register the changes that are happening. There’s nothing we can do about it and we’re just left sitting here, wondering what our future is going to be like.

The song also perfectly describes the entire message behind the album, which Parker sums up perfectly in an annotation from Genius.

“This album is like… someone growing up and…just realizing their place is not involved with the rest of the world… someone trying to figure out where their place amongst everyone else is, and having a really confusing time with it and then slowly accepting that it’s in their blood just to be a solitary wanderer,” Parker said.

During the age of COVID-19, loneliness and dealing with changes, as described in “Apocalypse Dreams,” is something that all of us are dealing with right now, which is why “Lonerism” is the perfect album for anyone trying to figure out how to live with themselves during a pandemic.

Colby Guy is the Editor-In-Chief for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thatguycolbs.