“Borderline” – Tame Impala
Electronic music is often chided for its replacement of evocative, imperfect natural instrumentation with cold, pristine, and emotionless musical synthesis. With the April 12 release of “Borderline,” Tame Impala challenges the increasingly antiquated notion that music has to be devoid of evil synthesizers to elicit any kind of emotional response.
First premiered during the Australian indie band’s Saturday Night Live performance on March 30, the track shoves listeners into a vacuous world of despair and longing with a flashing keyboard beat and a desperate chorus. Frontman Kevin Parker croons, “We’re on the borderline / Caught between the tides of pain and rapture.”
Like “Patience”—the other single from Tame Impala’s upcoming album—“Borderline” dances under the fragmented light of a disco ball with deep drum reverbs, eccentric and sporadic bongo hits, and almost tribal flute spurts. Parker plays on the back-and-forth of the beat while feigning a conversation with himself in the song’s inquizitive bridge: “Will I be known and loved?” the bridge starts off before heading down a path of self-doubt with lyrics such as “Closer, close enough / I’m a loser, loosen up.” Even in the turbulence of uncertainty, Tame Impala makes us certain that we can just get up and dance across the borderline.
“Goodbye” – Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant rounded out the release of singles, teasing its upcoming album Social Cues with “Goodbye” on April 8. Steeped in remorse, the track is likely to be the emotional peak of the rock band’s fifth studio album. Frontman Matt Schultz, laments his regret with the lyric “Lord knows how hard we tried / Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.” More grounded than the band’s rollicking collab with Beck on “Night Running” and less vicious than “Ready to Let Go” or “House of Glass,” the album’s final single showcases an uncharted territory for the band, which puts down its guitars for the minimalist piano track.
“Everybody Here Hates You” – Courtney Barnett
Rock up-and-comer Courtney Barnett follows up her Best New Artist Grammy nomination and critically acclaimed Tell Me How You Really Feel with “Everybody Here Hates You.” Released on April 8, the track jolts listeners with a more melodic vocals than Barnett’s fans are used to and sprawling guitar solos. True to form, Barnett exudes an unbothered confidence with her conversational verses despite paranoid lyrics, such as “I feel stupid, I feel useless, I feel insane” and “You say, ‘It’s only in your head / They’re probably thinking the same thing.’”
Featured Image by Modular Recordings