My trippy adventures with Tame Impala’s Let It Happen

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulMar 11, 2023 | 20:31

My trippy adventures with Tame Impala’s Let It Happen

On its eighth release anniversary today (March 11), we take a look at what is so special about the notorious track that has made it a rite of passage for those experimenting with certain green substances. 

Australian psychedelic music project Tame Impala's Let It Happen is an eight-minute masterpiece that effortlessly blends elements of psychedelia, dance, and pop. The song, which was released on 10 March, 2015, is a standout track from the band's third studio album, Currents, and has been widely acclaimed for its innovative sound and production.


At its core, Let It Happen is a dance song. It opens with a thumping bass line and a syncopated drum beat that immediately grabs the listener's attention. The rhythm is infectious, and it's impossible not to tap your foot or nod your head along to the beat. The song's use of electronic instruments is particularly effective in creating an otherworldly, dreamlike atmosphere.

For newcomers to the greens, the song seems like the perfect introduction to psychedelic pop. If it isn’t played to you by veterans of the craft, you’re bound to chance upon it in your seshing endeavors eventually. 

The song's structure is unconventional, with several distinct sections that flow seamlessly into one another. The first section, which lasts for just over two minutes, sets the stage for the rest of the song. What seems almost prescient are Kevin Parker's airy vocals floating over the danceable beat, with lyrics that suggest a willingness to let go and surrender to the moment:

"All this running around, I can't fight it much longer. Something's tryin' to get out, And it's never been closer"

Parker's vocals are a highlight of the song. His voice floats effortlessly over the beat, conveying a sense of dreamlike detachment that is perfectly suited to the song's psychedelic sound. The song's lyrics deal with themes of self-discovery, personal growth, and letting go of control.


These themes are particularly relevant to particularly sauteed listeners, who may be seeking a greater sense of introspection and self-awareness, or would just like a bit of help along their newfound experience. The song's chorus, which repeats the phrase "just let it happen," is also interpreted as a message of acceptance and surrender, which can be comforting for newbies experiencing anxiety or stress.

For first timers, this portion of the track is usually unconsciously glazed over since they have more pressing matters to attend to in the moment (getting blazed). However, little do they know that the trap has already been set and they have no idea what they’re heading in for.

One of the most impressive aspects of Let It Happen is its production. The song was produced by Parker himself, and it's clear that he spared no expense in creating a sonic landscape that is both lush and intricate. The song features a wide range of instruments, including guitars, synths, pianos, and drums, all of which are mixed together in a way that is both cohesive and dynamic.


The song's use of electronic effects is particularly noteworthy. Parker makes use of filters, echoes, and other effects to create a sense of space and depth, as if the listener is being transported to another world. The use of panning is also effective, with sounds moving from left to right and back again, creating a sense of movement and energy.

But the most infamous segment of the song however is all too familiar to most Tame Impala enthusiasts. One that has long been a stoner party trick to send newbies to places they’d never been before.

As Parker’s voice trailers off, the song transitions into a repeating section towards the end of the song. In the midst of a bustling melody, a moment of stillness. The music pauses, and the original thread of the song resurfaces. For eighteen seconds, the beat continues to pulse with the same upbeat energy as before, but this time, without lyrics. Instead, the humming grows louder, building in intensity.

Almost imperceptibly, the tempo of the song begins to increase, culminating with the repetition of a single chord. To the uninitiated, this might sound like a scratched CD or a faulty record needle. For veterans, it is a signal that a big change is coming. But for first timers, the sudden repetition feels as if time has come to an absolute standstill.

The first I listened to the track was my first time experimenting with the greens. A friend of mine served as a sitter, but also seemed particularly excited at the prospects of sending me places. Which of course manifested itself in Let It Happen.

About 15 minutes in, a haze had already descended on the flat. But I didn’t seem to feel any different. That was until the music started to glitch.

Is it just me or is the song stuck on repeat?” were a few of my famous last words before I felt my limbs melt into the carpet I had been sitting on. The effect is both disorienting and hypnotic, creating a sense of trippiness that is perfectly suited to the song's psychedelic sound.

This repeating section is particularly effective in creating a sense of tension and anticipation, as the listener waits for the song to shift into its final section. It's a clever use of repetition and sound manipulation that adds yet another layer to the song's already complex sonic landscape.
Rest assured, the rest of my first substance adventure was enthralling enough to get me excited for the next time.

But in retrospect, as my sitter-friend now recounts that if he hadn’t played that one song, I wouldn’t have developed an understanding and appreciation for the greens that I have today. That one song and that one unforgettably trippy section.  

The synthesizer soon enters, unifying the other instruments and layering them with an orchestral accompaniment that echoes the techno-esque sounds from earlier.

As the synthesizer takes center stage, the orchestra remains a subtle presence in the background. Gradually, the loop gives way to a steady drumbeat, with the orchestra assuming a more prominent role. And then, just as suddenly as it began, the song returns to its original sounds, leaving listeners amazed by the dizzying array of changes that have just occurred, yet impressed by how seamlessly it all fits together.

As the song progresses, the various sections begin to blend together, with overlapping melodies and rhythms creating a sense of unity. The song's climax is a stunning blend of dance and psychedelia, with swirling synths and trippy visuals that bring to mind the heyday of Pink Floyd and other psychedelic pioneers.

"I think most of that song was put together at different times, when I was on tour, actually. I remember it came to me, I think I was walking to my hotel room in Oklahoma. And then the chorus, I was at a festival in Hungary or Turkey. And then the midsection, the jam bit, I was on a train. That's a bit looping and a weird repetitive thing going on, and I had my laptop on a train in France, going to Toulouse. I think with that song, one thing led to another. I was just jamming by myself in the way I do, and I put it on a loop to see what sounds cool. I just see where it takes me"
- Kevin Parker in an interview with Under the Radar

Let It Happen is a tour de force of musical innovation and experimentation. The song's blend of dance, pop, and psychedelia is both accessible and complex, making it a standout track in the artist’s already impressive catalog. 

The song's unconventional structure and seamless blending of different sections create a sense of flow and unity, while its use of electronic effects and production create a lush, otherworldly atmosphere that draws the listener in.

It's a song that rewards repeated listens, as the listener discovers new layers and nuances with each play, making it a first-sesh essential for many a new experimenter.

Last updated: March 11, 2023 | 20:31
    Please log in
    I agree with DailyO's privacy policy