Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear

Sub Pop, 2015

Josh Tillman. What a cool-guy. If you haven't heard of Josh Tillman or Father John Misty, you've probably heard of Fleet Foxes, the band for which he was previously a drummer and vocalist. He's released several records as J. Tillman, including the spare but excellent Vacilando Territory Blues. More recently he's taken the moniker of Father John Misty, a bizarrely self-reflective, sardonic and hilarious Americana Dude. His last album, Fear Fun, was a profoundly underrated record full of engrossing stories and lyrical gems. I Love You Honeybear is a continuation of that, with Tillman perfecting his unique lyrical style and surrounding it with lush and diverse instrumentation.

The record starts off expectedly based on Tillman's previous output with gorgeous soul and folk infusions before taking a surprising left turn on the third and stand out track, "True Affection". Unlike most songs on the record, and anything Tillman has done before, the song is rich on breezy electronics that blend in perfectly with vocal harmonies and more traditional instrumentation. The following song, "The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apartment" returns to the short story folk song writing we're more used to from Tillman. And the song is hilarious. He goes through just about everything he hates about people, malapropos, that "soulful affectation white girls put on", and people who are just too full of shit to realize it. "Nothing Good Ever Happens At the Goddam Thirsty Crow" and "Bored in the USA" denote other lyrical and musical peaks on the record. "Bored in the USA" especially fires on all cylinders hitting multiple targets. It's a questioning and mocking of the aspirations of our generation, while getting in some digs at the social structures of privilege that many take for granted. It's self-effacing stuff, and it's hard to tell sometimes whether the target of Tillman's songs are his audience, characters he's met, or himself.

One of the reasons it's so easy to love Tillman is his way with words and vocal execution. He manages to come off as sarcastic, soulful, dismissive, witty, and remarkably literate all within the same song. That's no easy feat. I Love You Honeybear, for all of its excellent musical achievements (this is a beautifully produced album), is ultimately a songwriter's record. It captures the spirit of "Our Times" in the snarky, self-depreciating and internally anxious voice of the generation that's living in it. To say the least, it's a worthy breakthrough for Father John Misty.

Best For: So you've stepped into a bizzaro-world that's filled with characters that came out of a hybrid of "Inherent Vice" and a Jonathan Franzen novel? This record will help you navigate through the assholes.

Rating: 4.5/5


--Kenny Chatoor is former CJLO radio DJ and magazine contributor currently living in Ontario, "Yeah things are good, there is definitely nothing like CJLO in Toronto though, which is a bummer."