Even if you’re not the biggest fan of Rihanna, you’re probably aware by now that her latest album, Anti, features a cover of a beloved Australian band. On the album, the Barbadian pop sensation lends her vocals to a rendition of Tame Impala’s ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’.
According to Spinning Top Management, who handle Tame Impala, “The Roc Nation [Rihanna’s management] team got in touch with us here at Spinning Top letting us know that Rihanna loved the Tame Impala track ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’.”
“They asked if she could cover the song for her new record. Kevin was more than happy to send it her way. We’re all really happy with how the song turned out, love it!” However, reaction to the track, particularly from Tame Impala fans, was somewhat mixed.
Since the track so closely resembled the original tune — minus frontman Kevin Parker’s sleepy, Lennon-esque vocals — many accused Rihanna of merely performing karaoke over the track and doing nothing to make the Currents cut her own.
Au contraire, says Parker. In a new interview with The Independent, the Tame Impala chief explains that not only is he a fan of RiRi’s cover, he believes her take on the tune is in fact the truest incarnation of his song.
“That was pretty surreal,” Parker said of the moment his manager messaged him. “I remember reading it a couple of times. It seemed so way out that Rihanna was going to use the song on her album. Funnily enough I kind of imagined the song to be an R&B singer’s song in the first place.”
“That’s how a lot of Tame Impala songs start out – as ideas for songs I could potentially give to someone else. I think of them with a different persona in mind, it’s just a subconscious way of not being bound by what you think you are as an artist.”
According to Parker, when he first came up with the tune, he thought it sounded a lot like R&B veterans TLC. “Hearing the Rihanna version, it made me realise that the song finally got the treatment it deserved from the beginning. It went full circle,” he said.
Meanwhile, dispelling rumours that Rihanna simply had the cover handed to her by her label or producer, Parker told MTV that “She was spearheading the whole thing,” adding, “She just wanted to do something with the song. I didn’t really know what it was.”