Is Father John Misty hipster Jesus? Check out these lyrics, “Emma eats bread and butter/Like a queen would have ostrich and cobra wine/We’ll have satanic Christmas Eve/And play piano in the chateau lobby.” Can’t you imagine some shoeless Lit major sitting in a coffee shop and banging out those same words on a vintage typewriter? If pretentious lyrics weren’t enough, don’t forget this guy calls himself “Father.” As if rock is a religion and he is an interpreter. As Gerald Johanssen might say, “You’re a bold kid (insert name), a bold kid.” It’s not hard to poke fun at the whole Father John Misty persona. The music on the other hand? The music is no joke… well, except when it’s intended to be.
Father John Misty is a lot of things. He’s a storyteller, a cynic, a comedian, a romantic, a guy who looks like he survived a zombie apocalypse, but most importantly a great songwriter. The reason Misty or should I say, Josh Tillman (his true identity), is a great songwriter is because of his ability to craft the perfect vessel for any idea. Tillman knows how to be light and poppy with snark-filled numbers like “The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apartment.” Though he can also lament with piano ballads like “Bored in the USA” or move dat body ’n soul with electro pop on “True Affection.” Somewhere out there, The Postal Service is bobbing their heads with approval.
Tillman is never short on ideas. Even deep into the album, I’m talking eight tracks deep, he never loses focus or delivers a lazy idea. He’s a pro. I mean, he was the drummer for Fleet Foxes. Tillman didn’t spring out the woodwork overnight and get lucky. It’s been a long a climb up the mountain to reach his level of success. Look at him now. He was on Master of None as “Cool artist at a cool secret show everyone wants to go to so they can look cool.” Take that Death Cab and your appearance on The O.C. as “Dork rock band who plays at the club only attended by trust fund kids.”
Cleverness and hip-ness aside, this music is nice. It’s as simple as that. The melodies are catchy and the instrumentation is beautiful. I can’t imagine how anyone with a beating heart could not like the album’s title track. How many sad college playlists do you think it’s on? Regardless of how serious of any these songs are meant to be, or their true intentions, I Love You, Honeybear is a unique slice of Folk/Rock Americana. Even if that’s not your genre, there’s plenty of other offerings in the realms of electronic, soul, and hard rock. So, though I am reluctant, I will follow you hipster Jesus. For as long as you continue to preach.
Favorite Tracks: “I Love You, Honeybear,” “Chateau Lobby #4,” “The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apartment”