Sunday, December 20, 2015
Tame Impala's Poetry
Poetry: literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm, and by that definition Elephant by Tame Impala is truly poetry.
Elephant is about a man who tries to be the coolest guy ever, but it is all a charade. The band uses a lot of colorful language and metaphors in order to express this point, much like a poem would. The song starts with a metaphor that gives the song its name. "Bet he feels like an elephant, Shaking his big grey trunk for the hell of it'" The metaphor of him being an elephant gives the listener the visual of his confident strut and his giant personality. The lyrics go on to further express how cool this "elephant man" thinks he is. " You know that you're dreaming about being loved by him, Too bad your chances are slim." Women are constantly attracted to him, but he has no time for all of them. In those first two lines Kevin Parker, the band's writer, recorder, producer, musician, and lead singer, has used his poetic lyrics to beautifully paint the scene. "He's got friends but they got the feeling, Wouldn't care too much if he just disappeared, Oh, look, see there he is now coming down the stairs,(Here he comes)." This is where the man's facade starts to show itself. He has friends, but they don't really care about him, they are just sort of there, and they to put on a facade when he comes. The final lyrics of the song truly are poetic. "Somebody grabbed his collar, He cried the whole way home,He won't remember a thing 'til it starts again,That's how it is 'til the end (yeah)." This is the climax of the song and probably its most poem like moment. The man's facade is shown to the world, yet he keeps it alive, losing his redemption as a character. Followed by the music you feel like the whole song is ready to start again.Finally the most assuring piece of evidence that Elephant is poetry are these lyrics. "He pulled the mirrors off his Cadillac (yeah), 'Cause he doesn't like it looking like he looks back, He talks like his opinion is a simple fact." That is one of the most striking lines is any form poetry, so it would only make sense it it came from a poem.
Another element of this song that cements it as poetry is the use of music. The performance of poetry is just as important as the actual written words of a poem and Parker keeps that in mind. The song has a lack of lyrics for a majority of the song. That is so that the song can reflect the man they are describing. The man is full of himself and thinks he is so cool, but there is no real substance to him. Filling the song with mostly instrumental bits shows how something can sound nice but really be thin on substance, like the the man described in the song.
Elephant is filled with striking lines, figurative and elegant language, and masterful performing. Therefore poetry is the only word able to describe it