Elephant (Tame Impala song)

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Tame impala elephant.jpg
Single by Tame Impala
from the album Lonerism
Released26 July 2012 (2012-07-26)
Producer(s)Kevin Parker
Tame Impala singles chronology
"Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind?"
"Feels Like We Only Go Backwards"

"Elephant" is a song by Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala. It was released as a single from their second album Lonerism on 26 July 2012.[1] The single features artwork from Australian artist Leif Podhajsky, who also created the artwork for Innerspeaker and the follow-up Lonerism.[2]


Kevin Parker explains that:

Elephant is actually one of the oldest songs that I have, it's just been in the vaults this whole time. I'm not sure why we never recorded it before, but we were just playing it at a sound check one night and everyone in the band was like, 'We should just put this on the album', and so we did.

"Elephant" features a bluesier side of Tame Impala, heard more frequently on their EP, as the song was written around that stage. Because it was written around that time, "Elephant" is "an anomaly on Lonerism. There are no other songs that have that bluesy riffing".[4]

Speaking about the track in a retrospective interview with Beats 1 in 2019[5], Parker spoke of his surprise at how successful the track became. "I always thought it was a bit shallow, a bit cringe. But now I appreciate Elephant, because the character I’m singing about, from the loners perspective... it’s how I always envisioned big, egotistical people who would march around. It’s kind of how a loner might see a jock - like an elephant."

In this same interview, Parker added that his favourite Lonerism lyric is from Elephant: "He pulled the mirrors off his Cadillac / ‘Cause he doesn’t like it looking like he looks back".

Critical reception[edit]

Alicia Dennis from Zimbio called "Elephant" "the best psych-rock song ever written about a pompous jerk",[6] while Nick Patch of the Times Colonist described it as a "distortion-drenched garage-rocker".[7] It is also viewed as a "glam-rock gem" by the webzine PlayGround.[8] Joe Levy from Rolling Stone stated that the song was "Tame Impala's 2012 alt-rock hit", describing the guitar riff as "gong-banging glam".[9] Ian Cohen of Pitchfork gave the song the "Best New Track" accolade, praising its production and stating that it "splits wide open during its midsection for an expansive and lyrical guitar jam that these guys are doing better than just about anyone else right now."[10] Nathan Reese of Refinery29 described the song as the group's "meaner, more immediate take on its garage-psych sound". He also commented that the song "with dueling keyboard and guitar solos that arrive midway through" resembles Pink Floyd's "Lucifer Sam", "channeled through the Stooges".[11]


Chart performance[edit]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[25] Platinum 70,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Tame Impala single 'Elephant'". Self-titled Mag. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Leif Podhajsky". Leif Podhajsky. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Tame Impala Stereogum Lonerism feature". Stereogum. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Tame Impala SFWeekly Lonerism Feature". SFWeekly. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Sleeve Notes: Tame Impala, Lonerism". Apple Music. 28 January 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  6. ^ Dennis, Alicia (13 August 2013). "Songs of Summer 2013: Alternative and Rock Hits". Zimbio. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  7. ^ Patch, Nick (3 March 2013). "Road a lonely place for Kevin Parker and Aussie breakouts Tame Impala". Times Colonist. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Todd Rundgren Remixes Tame Impala". PlayGround. 29 August 2012. Archived from the original on 1 September 2012.
  9. ^ LEVY, JOE (July 17, 2015). "Currents". Rolling Stone. ...of Tame Impala's 2012 alt-rock hit "Elephant" returns for a few seconds
  10. ^ Cohen, Ian (25 July 2012). ""Elephant" by Tame Impala Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  11. ^ Reese, Nathan (2012-07-26). "This Is Our Jam, Tame Impala, "Elephant"". Refinery29. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  12. ^ Hottest 100 - 2012 | triple j
  13. ^ "EG Music Awards 2012". FasterLouder. Archived from the original on 27 November 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  14. ^ "Zane Lowe's Hottest Records blog: Hottest Record - Tame Impala - Elephant". BBC. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Song of the Year". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  16. ^ "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 4 February 2013 (Issue 1197)" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. p. 2. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  17. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "CHART: CLUK Update 20.10.2012 (wk41)". Zobbel.de. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  18. ^ "Tame Impala Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  19. ^ "Tame Impala Chart History (Rock Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  20. ^ "Tame Impala Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  21. ^ "Tame Impala Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  22. ^ "Hot Rock Songs: Year End 2013". Billboard. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  23. ^ "Rock Airplay Songs: Year End 2013". Billboard. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  24. ^ "Alternative Songs: Year End 2013". Billboard. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  25. ^ "ARIA Accreditations 2020". ARIA. January 2020. Retrieved 18 February 2020.