An Empirical Overview of Father John Misty

Indie darling and ironic commentator Father John Misty has been making headlines these past few weeks, after releasing a mocking single of Ryan Adam’s cover of Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood (in the style of the Velvet Underground) and promptly removing it, explaining on his Facebook page:

“Down inside the blob I could see thousands of familiar faces and one of them was Lou Reed on a catwalk hand-cuffed to supermodels who had adopted babies handcuffed to them and Lou said, “Delete those tracks, don’t summon the dead, I am not your plaything. The collection of souls is an expensive pastime.” Then I woke up.”

He also created a music video for The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment, causing fans to be sexually confused about pilgrims. With such a prolific September, he added one more sprinkle to the shake by dropping a new single on Soundcloud called “The Memo”.

“Here at the cultural low water mark / If it’s fraud or art / They’ll pay you to believe,” he croons. The song in particular seems to reflect the craziness that’s been surrounding him, and everything he does is taken too seriously. If only he could interview himself, instead of letting the pros at Pitchfork create the mystical aura that stalks him. I’m sure Josh and Father John would have a lot to say to each other. Who knows, they might even make out with each other.

2015 has certainly been a successful year for the artist. While his sharp and hilarious album, titled I Love You, Honeybear, dropped in February, Tillman has not stepped out of the limelight. He seems to delight in his persona as Father John Misty, creating a banter with his fans at concerts and festivals alike.

As Josh Tillman, the artist has had minor success. He’s released three albums under J. Tillman, and moonlighted with Fleet Foxes for their first two albums as the drummer. None of his other projects have arguably caught the most attention than as Father John Misty, the alter-ego he invented in 2012 to parade his gauzy, neo-Americana, satirical hits. Like David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, the artist revels in his majesty and is tirelessly keeping up the charade.

One of the tracks off of Josh Tillman’s earlier efforts.

His songs are mythical and satirical, and their appeal is understated. It’s hard to believe that a song called “Holy Shit” could be the love song of the digital generation, but after summarizing all that a couple is up against (“Mobile lifestyle, loveless sex / Independence, happiness”) he draws us back again with “Maybe love is just an institution based on resource scarcity / What I fail to see, is what that’s got to do with you and me.” The witty observations belie a sense of truth underneath, and for unentangled lovers and confusing times, it all seems to make sense.

The only thing that would make him more perfect is if he wrote a song about the water on Mars. I have no doubt he could make alien planets and overconsumption sexy.

Hopefully, Tillman will continue to delight and create music for his jaded yet adoring fan base. It’s hard to imagine how he can get better, but he’ll always find new ways to surprise us.

A beautiful and heartfelt cover of Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs”.