Father John Misty

I Love You, Honeybear

Sub Pop

Feb 09, 2015 Issue #52 - January/February 2015 - St. Vincent Bookmark and Share


Only in this day and age could the most human album in a long time be produced by an alter-ego. Joshua Tillman's second go-round as Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear, finds the character going through every cycle of life, from lust to love to fear to hopelessness to depression to loneliness, only interrupted by the occasional bout of happiness. Not that I Love You, Honeybear is a depressing record, or even a particularly sad one, because throughout, the humor and the beauty of both the music and Tillman's voice play antidepressant.

The most impressive thing about I Love You, Honeybear is how far the poles are from one another. The album swings in mood and energy level from sleepy to crazed. "Bored in the USA" has the tempo of a lullaby, befitting its stance. Like a great actor, Father John Misty can take the listener from laughter to tears in an instant, and statements like, "Save me, President Jesus" are initially funny, but then heartbreaking in the extent to which people stretch to grasp at straws. "The Ideal Husband" is haunted by what sounds like either a wolf howling or an air raid siren, depending on the mood, and it's the most go-for-broke vocal performance thus far in the Father John Misty catalogue. It's also an incredibly raw look at an imploding relationship. "I've done things unprotected/Proceeded to drive home wasted," he sings early on, and later, "I've said awful things/Such awful things," as the tempo speeds and the tension mounts. "Let's put a baby in the oven," he yells, teetering on the edge, trying anything to regain what's lost. Somewhere in the middle is the throbbing pulse of "When You're Smiling and Astride Me" and the drum machine-backed "True Affection" (which has always seemed like an oxymoron to the Father John Misty character) with its mesmerizing, overlapping vocals.

Song by song, I Love You, Honeybear outdoes its predecessor, Fear Fun, in nearly every way, painting a more complex musical and lyrical picture of a man who grows more and more frustrated with his place in the world, and even more frustrated with his inability to pull himself out of it. (www.fatherjohnmisty.net)

 

 

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