In his career as Father John Misty, Josh Tillman has always been direct, whether it was his bizarre, yet beautifully poetic lyrics, the colorful, orchestral masterpieces that were his accompanying instrumentation, or, more recently, his viewpoints on the world, especially the world of politics. Up until now, fans of Tillman thought his musings were nothing to be taken too seriously, or simply just an extension of his famously controversial personality, until yesterday, when we were hit by the first single and title track from his new album, “Pure Comedy.” Throughout its six-minute duration, Tillman takes the role of doting father, gathering his children around his feet to tell them, detail by saddening detail, how the world went wrong. He’s direct once again, in true “Bored in the USA” fashion, but this time, it’s almost painfully so, as if he’s simultaneously resisting and succumbing to the urge to break his silence on every heavy topic, from politics (“Where did they find these goons they elected to rule them”) to religion (“Oh, their religions are the best/ They worship themselves yet they’re totally obsessed”). His biting, sarcastically sure observations are wonderfully offset by his soft, soothing voice and simple, yet slightly askew chord progressions, and, though he sounds more than disappointed throughout the track, he ends on a hopeful note, explaining that “each other’s all we got.”
Pure Comedy will be released on April 7th.
photo by Emma Tillman