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Music Father John Misty

Published on June 12th, 2018 | by voxx

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Father John Misty – God’s Favourite Customer

The arch singer-songwriter lets the irony slip, a bit, for his most personally revealing album yet…

On the face of it, Josh Tillman’s fourth LP as Father John Misty suggests a re-run of last year’s Pure Comedy, before the irony, mischief and state-of-the-nation addresses take a back seat, and he delivers what seems to be a bracing dose of intimacy and honesty.

Of course, it could all be a knowing put-on. Tillman has said that God’s Favorite Customer is a “heartache album”, written when he was living in a hotel for two months as “my life blew up” – and the description rings true. A song baldly titled ‘Please Don’t Die’ wearily rages against “all these pointless benders with reptilian strangers”; a funereal piece titled ‘The Palace’ is even more plain-spoken: “Last night I texted your iPhone/And said, ‘I think I’m ready to come home/ I’m in over my head.’” The crestfallen title track, meanwhile, is essentially a hangover set to music, casting a red eye over drinking beyond 5am, spending the night “bug-eyed and babbling”, and desperately looking for the next fake friend.

Wit and playfulness are inevitably also here, as evidenced by the titles of such songs as ‘Date Night’ and ‘Just Dumb Enough To Try’, and the withering take on affairs of the heart they contain. It makes for stuff as compelling as his past music, though there’s an occasional sense of the echoes of early-’70s singer-songwriters starting to pall, and signs that Tillman may eventually have to find a new musical template.

On its own terms, though, this is a heady journey through excess, absurdity and 21st-century mores from arguably the world’s most eloquent singer-songwriter, which seems to take us that bit closer to who he really is.

- By Jake White


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