Singing about love without bullshit: The Father John Misty Story

The Hound gives this album 5 out of 5 stars

Father John Misty has presented 45 minutes of music that takes an outlook on love so original listeners will be weeping tears of bliss, heartbreak, sadness and laughter all throughout each second.

After reigning as drummer/godlike harmonizer in indie-folk group Fleet Foxes and releasing multiple solo albums under his real name Josh Tillman, the moniker of Father John Misty was created. The character evolved into the Jim Morrison-meets-modern day cynic/lady swooner that released the critically acclaimed psychedelic-folk Fear Fun (2012) and amazed audiences with his semi-deranged onstage banter and the mind-blowing delight his voice can bring.

With his most recent output I Love You, Honeybear, Tillman takes storytelling alongside a delicate acoustic guitar and a beautiful, Laurel Canyon-esque production to a place of raw honesty and truer-than-true romantic confession. Labeled by Tillman as a concept album “about Josh Tillman,” nearly every song’s lyrical content has a strong influence of the artist’s recent marriage to photographer Emma Elizabeth Tillman.

The sporadic nature of the rotating between which character Tillman/Misty is channeling, while the either crassness or beauty of his words all cultivate into one large, lovable experience.

Between sugary lines of bewildering affection like “You left a note in your perfect script/Stay as long as you want/I haven’t left your bed since” to self-loathsome testaments of being accepted like “You see me as I am, it’s true/Aimless, fake drifter, and the horny man child models for to boot,” Tillman does not hold back a drop of his abrasive yet beautiful dialogue. He simply wants his listeners to know what love means to him, without a sliver of foofoo bullshit.

Honeybear’s lyrics overflow with satirical rants about the inner workings of a normal—or better yet, boring as fuck—day in America for Mr. Tillman, with his lover saving him from near insanity by the end of each story.

Traces of the sincerity all great singer-songwriters hold are abundant on this album, with the slow, confessional Elton John-like ballad “Born in the USA” lashing out at the materialism and fake happiness Tillman seems to be surrounded by.

The record’s finest moment of jubilee comes from “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins),” where a collage of mariachi horns and bountiful strings match celebratory lines that could have come out of Tillman’s own wedding vows.

What makes this album so perfect is the voice that delivers each song’s tale. The heights Tillman’s pipes reach throughout the album are what makes them so beautiful and affecting. The man proves fully that no matter what topic he may address, he’ll always do it with a boisterous grace that just puts a smile on your face.

This is an A+ album. I can promise a pleasantly emotional experience after you taste the Honeybear.



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