Father John Misty preaches love in new album

Alex Nye

Joshua Tillman, the self-declared son of a ladies’ man, is back under the pseudonym Father John Misty in his most recent album “I Love You, Honeybear.”

Having previously released albums as Joshua and J, Tillman has found most of his success under his newer persona Father John Misty.

Think of it as a revelation in the desert. Once the drummer of Fleet Foxes, Tillman had the epiphany to recreate himself when he released “Fear Fun,” the first album as Misty.

His new style was in-your-face bold. He made it clear he was the only son of a ladies’ man and that he was “writing a novel, because it’s never been done before.” These brash statements are lost on his second Misty album.

He already wrote his novel and is now married, which leaves little room to be a ladies’ man. Instead, the father now preaches love in a poetically vulgar way only he can.

“Emma eats bread and butter/ Like a queen would have ostrich and cobra wine.”

The album bluntly enough is about his newly wed life with his wife, Emma Elizabeth Tillman. The opening track is “I Love You, Honeybear” where he captures intimate moments between himself and Emma.

“Mascara, blood, ash and cum/ On the Rorschach sheets where we make love,” Tillman sings on the second line of the album. It is his interpretation of his relationship and trying to figure out what it all means going forward.

In fact the first nine songs on the album are all about love and his marriage. Titles like “True Affection” and “The Ideal Husband” would not have been found on his first album.

On “Honeybear” the music is stripped down to its bare bones and Tillman’s voice is haunting. He has removed himself from the Hollywood life and has excluded celebrity cameos like Aubrey Plaza from appearing on this album.

Although the punch is gone from his music, his crudeness still exists.

He is mostly singing of his wife but has no problem calling it as it is.

In “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow,” Tillman sings, “She blackens pages like a Russian Romantic/ And gets down more often than a blow-up doll.”

With all the talk of love and happiness there seems to be little room for political commentary, which Tillman was known for previously.

He crams a full album of politics into two songs slipped into the end of the album. “Bored in the USA” and “Holy Shit” are shout-outs to Millennials.

  “Just a little bored in the USA/ Save me, white Jesus/ They gave me a useless education/ And a sub-prime loan on a craftsman home,” Tillman sings tongue in cheek as a laugh track plays after every line. He later goes on to call the Son of God “President Jesus.”

If he hasn’t ruffled your feathers yet, don’t worry, that’s what “Holy Shit” is for. The approach to the song is single phrases one after another to create a sort of poem on the current state of the U.S. He leaves the interpretation up to the listeners.

“Coliseum families/ The golden era of TV/ Eunuch sluts/ Consumer slaves/ A rose by any other name/Carbon footprint/ Incest dreams/ F— the mother in the green/ Planet cancer/ Sweet revenge/ Isolation/ Online friends.”

It is refreshing for an artist to lay it all out on the table and not shy away from anything that may be taboo.

He does this by establishing his own faults and trials and informs the reader that he too is a part of the system we are in.

The last song of the album, “I Went to the Store One Day,” is where he regains his composure and once again sings of Emma, the controlling force of his album.

“We met in a parking lot/ I was buying coffee and cigarettes/ Firewood and bad wine long since gone/ But I’m still drunk and hot/ Wide awake and breathing hard.”

The fragmented quotes I’ve presented may be off-putting for those who are not familiar with Father John Misty.

If that is the case, I recommend listening to “Fear Fun” first to see the lighter side before diving into this album.

It is truly genius and helps to build the second gospel of Father John Misty.

You can’t have Revelation without the book of Genesis.