The Whys and Why Nots Of A Tame Impala-Arctic Monkeys Collaboration
Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by BINARYWAX
Watch the teaser video for Tame Impala’s forthcoming album The Slow Rush. Once you’ve finished hit play on the Arctic Monkey’s preview of Tranquilly Hotel Base & Casino. Now ask yourself this. “Are not these two acts traveling along the same vibration?” As much as they relinquish the title – if not transcend it outright – both Alex Turner and Kevin Parker are figureheads of modern rock. A fan could only be forgiven for imagining what might happen were they to get together creatively. And know what? It might just happen. Neither Tame nor the Arctic Monkeys are objecting so what the odds that it might actually come to be? Here are factors that might make it happen and those that keep it within the realm of fan fantasy.
The Case For:
1. Alex Wants To ‘Float’
As anyone who has seen the video of Turner grooving along to Tame Impala’s 2016 Glastonbury set can attest, Alex Turner is a Tame Impala fan. Visiting Australian radio station triple j in 2014 he and the band covered Lonerism single it ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backward’ and that same year the Monkeys also opted to have Tame as their main support for their Finsbury Park concert extravaganza. In 2018 Alex Turner, in conversation with Beats 1, made the passing remark that he would “love to float with Kevin”. “I think [Parker is] brilliant,” the Arctic Monkeys’ vocalist told his host. “No doubt about that.”
2. So Does Kevin
Not long after Parker was asked by Billboard whether he, in turn, would work with Turner. “Anything is possible,” he replied. The plot thickened when Parker was interviewed on BBC Radio 1 late last year. When his host brought up Turner’s previous statement, Parker teased he’d recently been lounging in the singer’s LA residence. “I was in his pool the other day,” he revealed, “he wasn’t there he was somewhere [else]. A friend of ours is staying at his house. I don’t know if he was allowing guests… Sorry Alex! I was in your pool.” His host then asked directly if he would work with Alex. “Yeah of course!” the Tame Impala mastermind replied.
3. The Monkeys Could Use A Hit Single
The commercial impact of the Monkey’s Tranquilly Bass was relatively muted compared to the blockbuster that was previous album AM. The album, while selling respectably, didn’t yield a hit single the same way AM gave the band ‘Do I Wanna Know?’. In 2019 Parker cowrote ‘Circles’ with Post Malone and coproduced good friend Mark Ronson’s Late Night Feelings. As a producer, Kevin has an ear for music that could climb the charts.
The Case Against:
1. Both Are Busy
The gap between both acts last albums – AM and Tranquillity Base, Currents and The Slow Rush – has been five years. With Tame Impala gearing up to support their own new album Kevin Parker isn’t a hurry to start work on new material. If any collaboration comes to pass it won’t be anytime soon.
2. Parker’s Collabs Don’t Always Come Off
When two artists get together the mojo doesn’t always happen. Parker once wrote on a song with SZA which never saw the light of day. Kevin has also revealed he attempted to work with Kendrick Lamar but nothing came of that either. Kevin is a perfectionist and self-professed control freak. He wouldn’t greenlight anything he didn’t think was up to scratch.
3. The Next Arctic Monkeys Album Could Be Too Important To Risk It
After the relatively modest performance of Tranquillity Base, at least when compared to AM, Turner and friends may be under more than a little outside pressure to avoid taking too many risks. The indulgence of having a few famous finds come around to play might not be what this still-ambitious outfit is looking for just right now.
While not by any means inevitable, it is possible. There are a number of hurdles to be navigated, not least of all the impressive trajectory these two bands are on and no doubt yet to chart. Both have their eyes set on dominating the US and neither is about to bend to fans’ expectations. The headstrong personalities behind the Arctic Monkeys and Tame Impala are determined to lead their audience and not please them. If a collaboration ever were to pass it would only happen it serves the music.