Thursday, 4 August 2022

2022 Contenders: Play Misty For Me

I got the new Father John Misty album on the day it came out, way back in April, when it went to Number 2 in the UK album chart, sticking just behind the new Frank Turner record which came out on the same day. That was a good week for grown-up records. 

I've written about Frank's latest here a couple of times (in short, it's his best in years), but I've not yet mentioned Josh Tillman's latest. Maybe it's a slower burn, not as immediate as Frank's, but it's just as individual and idiosyncratic. Both artists are now at the stage where they've established a unique voice, although they're both pretty Marmite. You'll either dig their records or wonder what the fuss is about. Luckily, I dig them both, although Frank would be the one I'd choose to sit down and have a coffee with. He seems like a pretty cool guy, especially now he's settling down... whereas FJM would best be described as a prickly character, someone to admire from afar. 

While Chloe & The Next 20th Century is unmistakably a Father John Misty record, that doesn't stop it pushing his sound in a new direction... albeit one that takes him back to the days of Bacharach, Jimmy Webb, and even early Warren Zevon. Buddy's Rendezvous has already been covered by Lana Del Rey, since it could well have been written just for her. (And if you can't hear the Zevon influence, then you've obviously never heard The French Inhaler. That's OK. Go listen to it now. You can thank me later.) 

All this has made a big impact of Tillman's sound, and the only track that really sounds like vintage Misty here is the closer, The Next 20th Century, one which is guaranteed to crop up on Val Kilmer's entry in the Celebrity Jukebox some time soon. 

Lyrically though, this is all prime Father John. Here's my favourite, Goodbye Mr. Blue, which shares a similar sentiment to one of Brad Paisley's best tunes, Last Time For Everything, as filtered through Misty-eyed idiosyncrasies. 

This may be the last time
Last time I put on my shoes, mmh

Go down to the corner
And buy the damn cat the expensive food

That Turkish Angora's 'bout the only thing left of me and you, mmh

Early this morning, it started making sounds that say
"Don't the last time come too soon?"


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