On February 14th, 2020, alternative/psychedelic rock legend Tame Impala released his long-anticipated fourth studio album, The Slow Rush. The album’s smooth and complex songs present a fresh, introspective look at the fleeting nature of time: a slow rush, if you will. The album opens with an absolute banger entitled “One More Year,” which is written as follows:
Do you remember we were standing here a year ago?
Our minds were racing and time went slow
If there was trouble in the world we didn’t know
If we had a care, it didn’t show
But now I worry our horizons bear nothing new
‘Cause I get this feeling and maybe you get it, too
At first glance, these lyrics seem like a simple take on an ending relationship — the speaker is concerned that his relationship with the song’s subject has no future. However, as is the case with most of Tame Impala’s songs, there is a deeper meaning here: time, which was once the speaker’s friend, is now a source of anxiety and dread. The music is designed to make the listener feel stuck (his interesting use of timing, combined with minimal progression in the song’s chords, makes the listener feel like a record is skipping). By the end of the song, the idea of one more year in the same place seems almost unbearable. A year of aimlessness, of waiting for things to end… time is the speaker’s enemy.
How eerily foretelling these lyrics were. For me, The Slow Rush was the last album that played on repeat in my headphones as I walked on Pepperdine’s campus, back when I didn’t know it would be my last chance to do so for almost a year. I’m listening to the album as I write, and it’s really got me feeling some type of way. I close my eyes and I’m on the shuttle up to the CCB, or walking to Payson from the music building, or doing dishes in my janky Lovernich apartment. Pepperdine was my home.
I never wanted any other way to spend our lives
Now one of these is gonna be the last for all time
For all time
One more year…
One more year. How could we possibly have known?
On the day that I’m writing this, it’s been a year to the day since we left campus. Emotions are running high. I can’t help but reminisce on the Dalgona coffee days of quarantine, when everyone was making banana bread, doing Chloe Ting workouts and hoping we’d all be back to normal in a month or two. I think it’s safe to say that none of us are the people we were in those days — for better or for worse.
It’s hard not to look back on this year with a tinge of bitterness and regret. And yet, there is hope.
A week ago, I drove up Seaver Drive for the first time in a year. I parked at the HAWC steps, walked down to Main Campus, and sat in my reserved study room in Payson Library. I put in my headphones, and I listened to The Slow Rush — this time armed with knowledge of the past, and a wariness of what’s to come.
With the drop in COVID-19 cases and the distribution of vaccines nationwide, there seems to be a tiny trace of hope in the air. You can feel it on campus — that little longing to run into someone you know while walking those halls again. This little hope is mixed with the larger hope in a post-grad, post-COVID-19 future: a world without masks, social distancing or capacity regulations for grocery stores. Returning to Pepperdine, even for a day, was just a taste of that future.
In 2020, time was our enemy. But as we slowly creep towards a brighter tomorrow, I expect that time — time to vaccinate, time to build a healthy lifestyle, time to leave our houses for once — will be our friend.