Father John Misty defines life as 'Pure Comedy' in new release

Category:  The Arts
Thursday, April 13th, 2017 at 6:30 PM
Father John Misty defines life as 'Pure Comedy' in new release by Natalie Wiepert

Father John Misty (Josh Tillman) takes on religion and pop culture in his new album, “Pure Comedy,” released this past Friday. He touches on the political times we are living in without being cliché.

This record is a lyrical continuation of “Fear Fun,” and reminds us instrumentally of “I Love You, Honeybear.” But it is different from his previous releases, both because it seems to be a never-ending mirage of ballads and that it satirically takes on several aspects of modern society.

If there were an entire album written around the premise of “Bored In The USA,” this would be it.

The album kicks off with “Pure Comedy,” which was released in January. When the single came out it gave hope for a satirical album, taking on the inherently ironic nature of religion and politics. He delivered on that aspect, singing “And how’s this for irony?/ Their idea of being free is a prison of beliefs that they never ever have to leave.”

“Total Entertainment Forever” is another single released for this album. Tillman expresses his view that religion is just a way for people to justify their own poor behavior.

“Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution” is definitely a standout track. It’s also the most interesting to listen to in an album lacking much range.

“Ballad of the Dying Man” has more of a sentimental tone. Tillman again touches on the issues he sees with society. “All of the pretentious, ignorant voices that will go unchecked/ The homophobes, hipsters and one percent /The false feminists he’d managed to detect/ who will critique them once he’s left?”

Self-deprecating Tillman isn’t going to leave us without making fun of himself at least once. “Leaving L.A” is a 13-minute track with no defined chorus. Like much of latter half of the album, it’s strong lyrically but not interesting musically. It continues on the previous themes of mocking pop culture but then shifts to him becoming the very people he scoffs at. “Oh great, that’s just what we need/ another white guy in 2017 who takes himself so goddamn seriously.”

“A Bigger Paper Bag” and “Smoochie” are the only songs that play more like love songs rather than cynical comments. They are likely to be the underrated tracks but maybe are all the better for it.

“Pure Comedy” is really just a seamless flow of ballads making fun of the shortcomings of humanity, saying we’re not as superior as we make ourselves out to be.

The album starts off strong but lacks variety and isn’t able to hold up through all 13 tracks.

Nothing here had the effect on me that “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” did when I first heard it. Tillman plays it safe when it comes to the instrumental delivery of controversial subject matter.

It’s not my favorite Misty release but I think it’s one that we all probably should hear.

You can find “Pure Comedy” on iTunes and Amazon, as well as streaming via Spotify and Apple Music.

Standout tracks: “Pure Comedy,” “Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution” and “Ballad of the Dying Man.” 

Natalie Wiepert is the managing digital editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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