I first heard this song in the summer of 2016. I was crashing with my long-time friend Oscar for a week, and another of his friends, James, was there too. James played “Let It Happen” almost on loop for that week, and it just got caught in my brain in a way I really can’t describe. I appreciated the sounds and the lyrics in just this crazy, intense, insane way. I had never heard anything like it, I felt like I was trancing.
That summer I dreamed of travel. I remember it being all that I talked about with my sister. I couldn’t travel because I had no money and I had commitments (University, grumble… grumble..), but I was just as content at learning new skills and making cool things so that I’d be more able to work remotely whilst travelling in the future.
I was living in the rural village with my dad and frequently walked 7 miles to see my sister and my newborn niece (sometimes I walked another 7 for the way back!). That summer, I was happy. I had no commitments. I was making. I didn’t have to do some dumb assignment that I wasn’t learning from. I was moving. I was progressing. I was experiencing.
“Let It Happen” was almost the only song I listened to that summer, so much so that the girl I was dating at the time made fun of me for it.
It’s all around me, all this noise -
but not nearly as loud as the voice saying:
“Let it happen. Let it happen.
(It’s gonna feel so good!)
Just let it happen. Let it happen.”
– Tame Impala - Let It Happen
I really identified with the lyrics of “Let It Happen”. I still do.
I had been feeling trapped in England and by my University course - again, I still do - and I felt that I couldn’t do my own thing or be my own person yet. I had to be a certain person, for now, until I could graduate and be me. But the notion of nomading and making had grown inside me, I couldn’t ignore it. All the other options felt shallow. I wanted to be carried away by the warm winds.
“Let It Happen” symbolised how I was feeling perfectly, even if my interpretation isn’t exactly aligned with the intention of the musicians. It became somewhat of a mantra for the time. Things may suck now, but let it happen. It’ll all be worth it. Let it happen, endure the bad, and you can leave and try the life you’re dreaming about. One day you’ll hear that alarm, and will awaken, quite alone, in a strange new town.
The second chorus almost seemed to be about explaining away the failure of a startup I had tried, and starting a new “story”. It felt perfect. The song just ‘fit’.
I didn’t know then that I was about to go through one of the toughest periods of my life within just a short few months of that summer. I honestly believe now that part of my difficulty came around because it was crushing to lose my freedom to make, and that I couldn’t handle having to settle back into the soul-crushing University routine again… During my dark times, some of the verses of “Let It Happen” took a much darker meaning, and what previously was about financial struggle or freedom came to mean mental struggles and ‘dark escapism’.
Now that I’m generally feeling much more comfortable and stable, “Let It Happen” again symbolising the deafening call for nomadic ‘freedom’ that I hear constantly.
It’s so close.
All this running around -
I can’t fight it much longer.
Something’s trying to get out -
and it’s never been closer.
– Tame Impala - Let It Happen