Artist of the Week: Father John Misty
It’s very rare for me to relate with an artist as well as I do with Father John Misty. At the same time, he wants to be all of the following: cynical yet loving, scornful yet open-hearted, judgmental yet understanding. I struggle with these as well, wanting to care about people and staying humorous and enjoyable without losing my edge or becoming generic. These relations, along with Father John Misty’s songwriting, humor, and orchestral instrumentation, make I Love You, Honeybear my favorite album in nearly two years.
Josh Tillman, the former drummer for indie folk band Fleet Foxes, rebranded himself two years ago as Father John Misty, the folk messiah with demons of his own. While I thought his debut as Misty was a pleasant listen, the lyrics were too ethereal and airy for me to get much concrete enjoyment out of it. The lead single off I Love You, Honeybear, “Bored In The USA”, evaporated my fears of lyrics without meaning. This is a very real track, one that explores the boredom that results from privilege, and how nothing is ever enough (Is this the part where I get all I ever wanted?). His use of a laugh track towards the end of the song draws to attention the lack of worries for privileged Americans, while students are having to pay off huge loans in a shoddy job market. It’s one of my favorite tracks.
While “Bored in the USA” leans toward the cynical side of Misty, a large portion of the album is dedicated exclusively to his wife. Most notably, the closing track “I Went To The Store One Day” is a beautiful reminiscence of the first meeting between Tillman and his (now) wife. The final lyrics of the album are the first words Tillman said when they met: Seen you around, what’s your name?
It would be a shame if I didn’t mention Misty’s humor. Most of the time the humor is indirect and subtle, but the frustrated anger in the appropriately named “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt” is hilarious. He speaks of a woman whose mannerisms and words frustrate him to no end (She says, like literally, music is the air she breathes/ I wonder if she even knows what that word means/ Well, it’s literally not that.)
My favorite track from I Love You, Honeybear is the second single, “Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)”. It’s a simple love letter to his wife, and it includes my favorite lyric of 2015: (I’ve never hated/ all the same things as somebody else/ since I remember). It’s on this track where Father John Misty connects the cynicism and open-hearted love for his wife in one place. It’s an apt summary of Misty’s love. I Love You, Honeybear explores tough internal issues for Misty, and the orchestral instrumentations compliment it well. This is the album of the year.
My Night With Jeff Bridges
Last week, actor Jeff Bridges released Sleeping Tapes, a sleep companionship album that was advertised during the Super Bowl. I decided to give it a whirl; it’s free, and all who download are encouraged to donate to No Kid Hungry, which aims to prevent child hunger.
Well, I’ll tell you one thing: this album will not help you sleep. However, the tracks on these tapes are some of the most fascinating and unique sounds I’ve ever heard. Bridges’s deep, creaky voice leads the listener through Temescal Canyon in Los Angeles, tells a story of a saxophone player, and even reveals that if Bridges drinks water before bed he’ll wake up to use the restroom. Listen to it; it’s a really interesting spin.
What I’m listening to this week:
Father John Misty | “I Went To The Store One Day”
Kendrick Lamar | “The Blacker The Berry”
Madeon | “Pay No Mind” (feat. Passion Pit)
Cloud Nothings | “I’m Not Part Of Me”
Lil Herb | “Knucklehead” (feat. Earl Sweatshirt)