The world is ending. "This place is savage and unjust" and our "idea of being free is a prison of beliefs." At least that's what Father John Misty
thought while he penned songs for his latest album Pure Comedy.
Josh Tillman can write anything - generic pop songs
, spontaneous reactions to political happenings
, and even songs for Beyonce
. When trying to introduce other people to his music for the first time, his live performance of "Pure Comedy" on SNL
might overwhelm them because at first glance, his ideas are hard to grasp. The wordy lyrics combined with his sarcastic tone is naturally off-putting, but he has some moments that are sure to grab "FJM novices," like "Total Entertainment Forever," "True Affection" or the title track off of I Love You, Honeybear.
Plus, we know what he's capable of; he surrounds himself with the best in the pop world, like Lady Gaga and Lana Del Rey, and after all, he did contribute to Queen B's album. He could probably be a - dare I say it - pop star himself? However instead, he makes the conscious decision to write exactly what he wants to write. In Pure Comedy
he speaks of technology, calls bullshit on the bible, and sarcastically says that historians will be thrilled
when studying our species - frozen smiles, plugged hubs and all.
I caught Father John's show at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn last week. It's a classy place and I'd only ever seen the singer in a festival setting, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The first time I saw him was at Governors Ball
last year and I'll never forget the look on the stage hand's face after FJM had broken his third mic stand of the set. However, there was drastic change this time around. His band has grown with the addition of an orchestra to accommodate his cinematic songs, which transformed the entire performance into something surreal. The graphics projected in the background featured the cartoonish society illustrated on the Pure Comedy
album cover as well as a full moon and stars in the night sky that added to the surrealness of it all. His voice, which was always good, sounded like it was at its best - at the forefront of the music, giving every word he sang that signature FJM twang. But most importantly, his lanky dance moves hadn't changed - thank god.
As I took a step back and looked at the show as a whole, I noticed something: Josh Tillman is the complete package. He creeps into our news feeds and daily lives with silly stories so often that we forget to look at where he came from and just how big he has gotten. Having the ability to step out from behind a drum kit and then, not only go solo, but become what I like to call "the pop star of the indie world" is not an easy task. But he did it. And he did it well. He created a unique, sometimes unlikable personality; some people can't wrap their heads around FJM because they don't understand him as a person, but that's another part of the genius. He has people intrigued, and he's making a memorable impression, whether or not it's a "likable" one. He has the songs, voice, personality, looks, dance moves, and that intense stare that'll make you wonder what the hell he's thinking. He'll continue to collaborate with prestigious people and be present in our news feeds, so whether you like it or not, Father John Misty is a full blown star, and we didn't even know it.