Joshua Tillman, known best by his alias of Father John Misty, is no stranger to personal introspection and biting, sarcastic social commentary. He further proves this on his latest psychedelic pop centerpiece, God’s Favorite Customer. Intended to be Tillman’s self-reflective album, Misty touches on everything from self awareness to rockstar ego in ways only the holy cynic himself can. The opening track, Hangout At The Gallows, starts gently but hits like a sucker punch to the soul. Soaring with his signature gleaming falsetto in the chorus, he inquires “What’s your politics? What’s your religion? What’s your intake? Your reason for living?” Here we tap into Tillman interviewing and conversing with himself as another person. This seems to be a reoccurring theme on the album, especially on the second track, Mr. Tillman. Released as the first single, it addresses Josh from the perspective of a hotel owner, warning Misty to keep his mattress out of the rain and and reminding him that his paranoia of always being filmed is invalid, all while over a soothing and hypnotic chord progression.
Throughout the course of the record, we see Tillman dig deeper into his roots of Leonard Cohen and Randy Newman. Each track appears to be a heavy self reflection, full of his classic sarcasm and self depreciation, set to a gorgeous and lush melody. Tracks like “Disappointing Diamonds Are the Rarest of Them All” and “Please Don’t Die,” an ode to suicide prevention, exhibit this unique style of Tillman’s marriage between words and sonic production. All in all, artistically, Misty has turned over a new leaf and departed from the social commentary found on records like I Love You, Honeybear and Pure Comedy, and exchanged it for a revival of the introspective reflection found on his debut, Fear Fun. In a time where the common soundscape of music is taking a more stripped down and synthesized approach, Father John Misty consistently gives us grandiose sounds and never shies away from shaking things up.
Listen to the full album here: