Lil Yachty breathes new life into Tame Impala’s ‘Breathe Deeper’ 

photo of the Breathe Deeper remix cover
Modular Recordings Pty Ltd/Courtesy

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Grade: 3.5/5.0

As Tame Impala, Kevin Parker delivers the song of the (Australian) summer with the release of the remix to “Breathe Deeper.” The remix, which features Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty, is a breezy party anthem that puts a spin on the indie mainstay’s traditional allure. 

When The Slow Rush was released in 2020, “Breathe Deeper” rose to the No. 2 position on the Billboard chart, cementing itself as a fan favorite by embodying what Tame Impala does best: groovy signature synths with a cohesive elevation from the last project that makes for versatile listening. Choosing to remix the track, especially one that defined a new artistic era for Parker, is a risky move, especially with Lil Yachty — who is successful in his own right, but isn’t known for bending genres. Like all artists, Yachty has a signature sound that at first listen, probably wouldn’t fit well with Parker’s. On paper, the remix appears unfitting, especially in comparison with past collaborations; its release seemed like major potential to be a letdown. 

Take A$AP Rocky’s 2018 single “Sundress” for example, which samples the Tame Impala track “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?” It has an aura about it that is a perfect concoction of the two artists: A mix of A$AP Rocky’s dreamy psychedelic rap and Parker’s cool indie energy. While the rapper exists in a realm of his own, the single was widely popular among fans who agreed that the duo was fitting (the two even performed the song at Coachella in 2019). “Breathe Deeper” and the release of the single anticipates a newness on the deluxe album (that features multiple remixes and a B-side) that die-hard fans may not love.

Yet, the remix of “Breathe Deeper” isn’t as mismatched as it may appear — and is even exciting in that regard. All beloved music depends on a level of familiarity, where fans expect a trademark quality within artists’ projects. The track has that similarity, largely preserving the instrumental from the original song as well as the chorus. Yachty’s added verses, while different lyrically and vocally to what would be expected from a Tame Impala beat, is a welcome contrast to what has been done before. Because of its differentiation from past projects, the initial listen feels like the two clash. Yachty’s immediate assertiveness on the track intertwined with Parker’s woozy chorus vocals can register as awkward at times. But, after moving beyond the song’s initial moments, Yachty’s lyricism and laissez faire flow make for a groovy fresh tune. 

The rapper’s laid-back vocals could be misinterpreted as almost lazy, but it removes a sort of pretentiousness that often follows Parker’s music. Yachty’s verses, with lines such as, “I been grindin’ my teeth while she rantin/ Everybody shut the fuck up and start dancin’,” and “You turned me to a fool for insane sex/ You passed the love test,” are especially raunchy to Tame Impala’s standards, opposing Parker’s cool, calm and collected lyrics about love. But Yachty’s take on the tune is more like a party anthem, endorsing love, sex and drugs more so than the traditionally trendy indie vibe. 

“Breathe Deeper” featuring Lil Yachty may not be Tame Impala’s next top hit, but its experimental uniqueness is undeniably fun. Yachty’s ambitiousness gives the tune another life — ultimately, it’s a breath of fresh air. 

Contact Kaitlin Clapinski at [email protected].