Josh 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.
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