Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

fatherjohnmistyJosh Tillman (Father John Misty) doesn’t create complex song structures, unique sounds, or musically genius instrumentals. His sound is simple, smooth, floating at times, and incredibly easy to listen to for most ears accustomed to the likes of Ryan Adams or Phosphorescent. It’s his lyrics that make him stand out. Filled with sarcastic and dark humor, Tillman reaches deep inside to lay bare a large part of himself in his lyrics, while never becoming too serious with his tone. His songs are explicit, suggestive, hard to take  seriously, and rather disturbingly cynical at  times, yet still captivatingly beautiful with an  exceptional ability to draw an emotional  reaction from the listener.

At the beginning of the album in the title track, “I Love You, Honeybear,” Tillman sings with a dark cynicism of the world ending as he watches with his lover and wife, Emma Tillman, as if only his love for her matters – “Everything is doomed and nothing will be spared, but I love you, Honeybear.” In “Chateau #4 (In C For Two Virgins),” Tillman illustrates for the world the story of his first real love, his now wife, Emma, and the stories of how they came to be. It tugs at heart strings, sure, but it also has a sour, jeering sort of flavor Tillman has become recognized for. The lyrics in “Chateau #4 (In C For Two Virgins)” express Tillman’s disdain for the norm, as he sings, “Dating for twenty years just feels pretty civilian.” And somehow, this concoction of scoffing, cynicism, and sweet, passionate love somehow work seamlessly together. It’s an accomplishment not many can say they have achieved, let alone attempted.

Although this album is decorated with their love, Tillman sings of the things Emma does that annoy him on “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.” With lyrics like, “Someone’s been told too many times they’re beyond their years by every half-wit of distinction she keeps around” Tillman complains rather blatantly of his wife’s need to feel important and knowledgeable. So even in this perfect love Tillman sings of throughout most of I Love You, Honeybear, there is cynicism to be drawn and imperfections to be pointed out in essentially every part of life.

To draw a finish to this record, Tillman once again dives deep into cynicism and darkness, much as he does in the beginning. On “Bored In The USA” and “Holy S***,” Tillman drones of marital struggles, an irrelevance to life, and deep-rooted societal issues using canned laugh tracks to drag along the irony of the average American’s troubles and add a sort of cruelly insulting touch. If you’re looking for an album you truly haven’t heard before, this may be a place to start. Not many artists write songs as openly sarcastic and still honest or as simply artful as Tillman does on I Love You, Honeybear.

By: Nick Fief

One thought on “Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.