Tame Impala – Posthumous Forgiveness (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)
The Australia psychedelic music collective, Tame Impala just premiered their third single from the upcoming album ‘The Slow Rush.’ The new single “Posthumous Forgiveness” is a massive track, clocking at 6 minutes and 6 seconds, and with two visibly different parts to the song. What made Tame Impala drop such a lengthy track? Let’s explore the meaning behind this new song by Tame Impala.
On-route to Tame Impala releasing their fourth studio album ‘The Slow Rush,’ the band has released two singles previously. “Borderline” and “It Might be Time” released in April and October 2019 respectively. Staying true to the album title, ‘The Slow Rush,’ the new single “Posthumous Forgiveness” is a slow, moody trip down the memory lane.
In this new song, Kevin Parker, the frontman of Tame Impala, seems to talk about his estranged relationship with deceased father. Parker talks about his father in the most dearly tone, despite him leaving Parker since his divorce with his mother, Rosalind. Listen to the song below.
Lyrics Review and Song Meaning of “Posthumous Forgiveness” by Tame Impala
From the first verse itself, Tame Impala manages to break everyone’s hearts. Kevin Parker talks about his father being the hero of his life, even though he was not always there. He draws examples from the pop culture where heroes always come to help in someone’s need. But his father never did!
In the first chorus of the song, Kevin says that he was foolish to believe that. He was just a child without the knowledge of the world when his father had to divorce his mother.
According to Wikipedia, Kevin Parker’s parents divorced when Kevin was just 3-years-old. However, Kevin and his father reunited when he turned 12. Kevin’s father, Jerry, was one of the biggest influences in Kevin’s musical upbringing. Maybe this is the reason why Kevin feels so close to his father, even to elevate him to a ‘hero’ status. Kevin learnt his first instrument, the guitar, from his father.
In these lyrics, Kevin Parker reminisces to a time where all three of them were together. His father kept on telling him and his biological mother to ‘trust him’ and things will all work out. But soon Kevin realized that this statement was only helping Jerry. His parents ended up divorcing no matter what.
The second chorus is yet again a follow-up to its preceding verse. Since Kevin feels like he was tricked in his childhood, he asks his father if he intended to keep his son in the dark forever? Maybe he did not try hard enough or maybe he was the reason why the family had to split. But Kevin is a wiser man now and can see through the shadows.
In these lyrics of “Posthumous Forgiveness,” Kevin does prove our guess from the previous verse to be correct. Kevin says that his father was to be blamed for the split of his family. His father had plenty of time to apologize for the mistakes he did. But he never did. Even the few explanations he did give, justifying his actions, there were massive plot holes. His stories were unbelievable and unreliable until his death. Jerry passed away due to cancer in 2010.
The third verse marks the end of the first part of “Posthumous Forgiveness” and the beginning of the second part.
In these lyrics, Kevin says that his father did not think about the consequences of his actions when he decided to divorce his mother. Indirectly, Kevin is calling him selfish for leaving him behind and his mother. He says his father was a coward, “running for cover,” when things got ‘hard’ in the family. Kevin was just 3-years-old and he did not even know how to process this change. He would likely never forgive his father for this.
In the final verse, we hear Tame Impala trying to mend his broken heart all by himself. He also namedrops his paternal half-brother, Stephen, who was equally overlooked in their father’s decision to move out. All the things they could have shared with their father but missed, there is only remorse and regret in their lives when it comes to their father’s memories.
On the outro, Kevin narrates s story of a time when he was on the phone with Mick Jagger. Somehow this phone call reminded him of his father. Maybe Jerry was a Rolling Stones fan. But his memory only brings up sadness and more remorse. He cannot stop thinking about all the times and memories they could have shared if he had stayed back. Kevin admits that Jerry had demons of his own–we all do. But it was not in his rights to pass on those demons to Kevin, which he did by leaving them behind.
It is quite unclear if Tame Impala is really forgiving his dad posthumously, as the song title suggests.
What do you think the meaning of “Posthumous Forgiveness” song is in a nutshell? Drop a comment below.