Thursday, 22 June 2017

June #3: Comedy & Errors

3. Father John Misty - Pure Comedy

The way I feel about the third Father John Misty album is exactly the way I felt about the last one. I absolutely love... about 60% of it. The rest, particularly in the case the latter half where J. Tillman dispenses with any pretence of a traditional verse-chorus structure and just sings whatever he wants to whatever tune fits at that moment... well, I find that a bit harder to get on with.

Still, Tillman is a unique voice in the music industry, he's exactly the kind of artist we need at the moment. He reminds me of Mark Kozelek sometimes, though he's a lot more tuneful and not quite as ornery. Not quite as funny or engrossing either, but when FJM gets it all right... as on the "isn't the entire human race just very, very silly?" title track... well, he just can't be beat. The fact that he manages to cram lyrical observations like those below into a smooth, 70s-sounding piano ballad makes me want to love him more...

Oh, their religions are the best
They worship themselves yet they're totally obsessed
With risen zombies, celestial virgins, magic tricks, these unbelievable outfits
And they get terribly upset
When you question their sacred texts
Written by woman-hating epileptics

Their languages just serve to confuse them
Their confusion somehow makes them more sure
They build fortunes poisoning their offspring
And hand out prizes when someone patents the cure
Where did they find these goons they elected to rule them?
What makes these clowns they idolize so remarkable?
These mammals are hell-bent on fashioning new gods
So they can go on being godless animals


  1. Tillman's sense of proportion stood out for me too. My favorite from the album, Ballad of the Dying Man, is an amusing yet harsh commentary on the absurd self-importance of man in this age when everyone has an opinion. Tillman has a point that contemporary news is becoming like entertainment with the likes of The Daily Show etc, and I think he's right to question that.

    1. I can't watch the new anymore because it's no longer about facts, it's pure opinion. And rarely an opinion I agree with.

  2. The Mark Kozelek comparison is a good one, although to be honest the ultra prolific nature of Mark's work has worn me down a little lately. I'm not sure if it's typo or you're missing one, but 'Pure Comedy' is actually the third LP under Josh's FJM moniker.

    1. No, you're absolutely right. I had completely forgotten Fear Fun. Which is odd, because that was his most complete album to date in some ways (it certainly disn't fall into the trap I discuss above).

      The odd thing is, because I no longer expect silly things like tunes or choruses from Kozelek, I'm far more open to his rambling diatribes. When FJM does that, I expect more. Also, as grumpy as he is, I find him far more amusing than Tillman, who's got some great, thought-provoking ideas but rarely engages me as a human being.

      Kozelek is that mad guy you meet in a pub and you talk to him because he's amusing but you wouldn't necessarily want to be his friend.

      Tillman is the mad guy standing on a street corner preaching his crazy yet thought provoking ideas. You'd stand and listen to him but you wouldn't want to get too close.


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