Janna Pelle explores the undeniable overlap between Tame Impala and Lady Gaga, showcasing their shared themes of acceptance, relentless pursuit, and the challenges of being an artist.
In this curated selection of songs by Janna Pelle, she explores the connections between Tame Impala and Lady Gaga. “Fame Impala” is not just a playlist of her favorite songs from both artists, but a thoughtful selection that highlights the thematic and sonic overlaps between them.
Both artists share a common thread of writing songs from the perspective of the outcast, the loner, and the one who always knew they were a star. Through back-to-back original and cover versions, Janna sets the tone for this playlist with a theme of accepting and embracing the challenges of being an artist.
The subsequent sections explore themes of confidence, proclaiming one’s own fame, and relationships-get-messy. With a mix of Tame Impala’s B-sides, Lady Gaga’s anthemic tracks, and Janna’s own songs, this playlist is a celebration of authenticity and relentless pursuit of art.
Read on below as Janna deep dives into the overlapping connections to be found in this shared musical space.
This Fame Impala playlist strives to highlight the tremendous overlap between Tame Impala and Lady Gaga – these are not simply my favorite Tame Impala songs and my favorite Lady Gaga songs – I’ve chosen these songs very intentionally to make this playlist as cohesive as possible both thematically and sonically. Think of this playlist as a venn diagram with Tame Impala and Lady Gaga as each of the circles – with some of my own songs sprinkled in the center of that venn diagram.
Both artists write songs from the perspective of the outcast, the loner, the person who always knew they were a star. This collection of songs alternates back and forth between Tame Impala and Lady Gaga to show how similar these artists truly are at their core – most notably in the acceptance of challenges in both career and relationships, and encouragement of the relentless pursuit to be your most authentic self.
We start with back-to-back of original vs. cover versions to set the tone for what “Fame Impala” really means, with “The Boat I Row” being the first track on the playlist; the theme of this initial group of songs being not only accepting but embracing the challenges of being an artist. Though it is proclaimed a B-side, I have never felt more seen or heard by any other Tame Impala song, let alone any song, ever.
I was inspired to cover Lady Gaga’s “Joanne,” (though I changed the title to “Janne” since my name is Janna) because it really hit home for me – I have a genetic mutation that makes me predisposed to blood cancer – and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit scared of it in the back of my mind (and sometimes in the front of it). But as the song says, “heaven’s not ready for you.” I feel that I have so much more to do in this life, so much more music to make, so much love to experience.
It wasn’t until I made this playlist that I realized Lady Gaga’s “Marry The Night” was basically her version of “The Boat I Row” – both songs illustrate the struggles that come with the life of any relentless pursuit of art, but also admit that there’s really no other way to live – and that they have no choice but to embrace all aspects of the journey on this boat that they both row – they are fully committed to the frustrations and the joys that come with being married to their music.
Another Tame Impala B-side, Taxi’s Here, marks the conclusion of this section – a slow-burn of synthy confidence in being able to face the unknown.
The next section of songs takes this confidence to the next level, with Gaga’s “G.U.Y.” (Girl Under You) addressing themes of dominance in submission; and a response with Tame Impala’s “Elephant” – a self-proclaimed cock-rock song that started as a joke; with the response to that being Lady Gaga’s “Heavy Metal Lover.” Confidence then takes a new form in “Be Above It” and “Rain on Me” – two songs that celebrate being able to withstand whatever bullshit comes your way, as if to say, bring it on, world, I can take it.
The subsequent section showcases these artists truly “proclaiming their own fame” (something Lady Gaga has repeatedly said in interviews); she didn’t wait for her fame to be given to her by someone else – taking ‘fake it till you make it’ to a whole new level. Although Kevin’s understanding of this may have been much more soft-spoken, he does say “one day I’ll be a star, they’ll be sorry” in “Why Won’t They Talk To Me?”
Both artists share a history of being an outcast in their youth; Lady Gaga was severely bullied, while Kevin was profoundly lonely – but they found their place and felt at home in their own artistry. “The Fame” and “Alter Ego” further this sentiment, both artists seemingly creating a more powerful version of themselves to rise above the criticism and fostering enough belief in themselves to have landed where they are today.
While Gaga’s approach to her songs in this section are much more overtly glorifying of fame, both “Breathe Deeper” (a song that Kevin wrote in his head while high in public) and “Patience” touch on the importance of keeping your cool through the rise to stardom, and the pressures that come with such a lifestyle.
Now we’ve reached the break-up section – the relationships-get-messy section – beginning with one of Tame Impala’s most heartfelt hits, “Eventually.” I thought it was fitting to put “Bad Romance” right afterwards (echoing the sentiment of “Marry The Night,” but applied towards a romantic relationship) – embracing someone for all their beauty and their flaws; followed by “Love/Paranoia” and “Monster” – two very different songs, both about heartbreak.
This section concludes with the opposite sentiment of many of the prior-mentioned songs – crippling self-doubt (and don’t all relationships coming to an end make us feel this way?) In Tame’s “It Might Be Time,” Kevin posits, “It might be time to face it, you’re not as cool as you used to be,” and in Gaga’s “911” she sings, “my biggest enemy is me, pop a 911” – a song about having to take anxiety medication.
My all-time favorite song, “New Person, Same Old Mistakes,” concludes this section, wondering if we will ever even learn from it all.
There are many more songs on the playlist, including some of my own, acting as transitions between the sections – with some of my favorite remixes of Tame/Gaga hits at the very end.
I hope that this playlist brings Tame and Gaga fans even just a little bit closer together – these artists as well as their fan bases share so much in common, I can’t be the only one who sees it! Consider this my attempt at raising awareness!