4th February 2015

Album: Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

I Love You, Honeybear is a non-chronological discovery of love, strewn with copious amounts of sex and scathing satire

Released on the 9th of February

Bella Union


Father John Misty is a perfect parody of himself. Taking the piss out of people who take themselves too seriously, he simultaneously praises his own conceitedness. I Love You, Honeybear is a non-chronological discovery of love, strewn with copious amounts of sex and scathing satire. From the opening title track Misty attempts to deceive, as swooning strings and ascending arpeggios could easily make his irony misconstrued. But underlying this feigned sentimentality, Tillman critiques the cliché of the romantic love song. Such satire is shown in ‘Chateaux Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)’, with Misty depicting the moment of losing his virginity, where genuine affection is blown over the top when accompanied by castanets and trumpets. Although seemingly smooth in his seduction, lyrics such as “I wanna take you in the kitchen/Lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in”, deny him any sincerity.

Misty’s deadpan humour is most commendable in ‘The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt’, as he openly lists all the insufferable qualities of one individual that lead him to choking her, all disguised under an upbeat jingly tambourine. However scornful Tillman’s lyricism is, he translates a clear frustration with much that is wrong with the world, into humour, rather than appearing spiteful or aggressive. ‘True Affection’ finds itself out of place on this album, not least because of its lyrical content (as the title implies), but it reveals a progression from Tillman’s classic ballad, to an experiment with the electronic. Yet beneath this momentary diversion, Tillman’s irony seeps through with the hint of a sleazy, electric drum solo.

Even if Tillman’s corniness is all an act, ‘When You’re Smiling And Astride Me’ seems somehow persuasive, in spite of his confession that he’s an “aimless, fake, drifter, horny man-child”. It’s not until the peculiar canned laughter in ‘Bored In The USA’ that you really begin to question who is laughing at whom. What at first appeared to be a mockery for the sentimentality of modern lovers, Father John Misty inverts and instead produces a love song with a more meaningful affection, as if his use of irony proves his subject to be more than just a cliché. Perhaps Father John Misty is not a knob at all; rather, as he concedes to heartfelt sop in the most explicitly ironic manner, we are in fact the knobs for assuming it was anything but genuine.

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