Father John Misty – “I Love You Honeybear” Album Review

Father John Misty – “I Love You, Honeybear”
father john misty i love you honeybear     MMB Rating: 8.1

Josh Tillman aka “Father John Misty” recorded “I Love You, Honeybear” all through 2013 to 2014 in Los Angeles with producer Jonathan Wilson, who also produced 2012’s “Fear Fun.” This is Tillman’s second release under the name “Father John Misty” having previously played as the drummer for the critically-acclaimed band “Fleet Foxes.”  Tillman is quoted saying about the album:

It has a decidedly more soulful presence than “Fear Fun”, due in no small part to the fact that I am truly singing my ass off all over this motherfucker. The album is really characterized by the scope and ambition of the arrangements. Nearly every tune is augmented by something special, be it orchestral strings, a mariachi band, questionable electronic drum solos, ragtime jazz combos, soul singers, or what have you. I’m pretty sure there’s a sitar in there somewhere.

Photo By: Emma Tillman
Photo By: Emma Tillman

With themes of self-loathing, jealousy, relentless narcissism, love, hate, anger, joy, irony, depression and virtually every possible human emotion, “I Love You, Honeybear” gives us an astonishingly profound look into the mind and psyche of Father John Misty (Josh Tillman).  Dancing back and forth between an alto-ego and his true self, this album is one of the most raw, authentic, uncensored, introspective musical works of art to be released in recent years.

With a very intellectual approach to describing his thoughts Tillman uses irony and contradictory language to bring heavy focus to the lyrics of his songs throughout the entire album, with the music being merely the means in which to deliver his message. We see this come into fruition clearly with tracks such as “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt,” where he points out all the flaws of his supposed one night stand, “The Ideal Husband,” which discusses getting drunk and high, doing things “unprotected,” saying awful things, and “Bored In The USA” where he talks about all his shortcomings and problems with a laugh track playing in the background.

Towards the end of the record, we seem to get a sort of overview of all of the random and slightly crazy thoughts displayed earlier.  “Holy Shit” seems to be his stripped-down return to the real world, taking a step back and looking at the big picture listing off all of the issues someone deals with in a lifetime. The final track “I Went To The Store One Day” shows a touch of sweetness, that goes against the raw and somewhat vulgar nature of the rest of the album, although there still remains dark undertones that keep it feeling unsettled.

In terms of lyrical aptitude and the ability to express emotion, Father John Misty completely nails it.  It is rare that you are able to venture into the mind of an artist so vividly, yet are still left with so much uncertainty and such a conflicted feeling.  In terms of the music on this album, unfortunately there is really nothing special. As I mentioned above, the music really seems to just act as an entertaining medium in which to convey the lyrics of this album.  Dabbling with electronic beats in “True Affection,” using other elements of jazz, orchestral strings, and other unique sounds, regrettably there is nothing memorable nor notable about any musical aspects of “I Love You, Honeybear.” Tillman seems to be a singer/songwriter at heart, and although the music is lacking, the storytelling and expressiveness on the album still make it a worthwhile endeavor.


Tour Dates:
Feb. 12 – Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade NYC* [Sold Out]
Feb. 14 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom* [Sold Out]
Feb. 16 – Montreal, QC – Virgin Mobile Corona Theater*
Feb. 18 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall* [Sold Out]
Feb. 21 – Dublin, IE – Whelans [Sold Out]
Feb. 22 – Glasgow, UK – King Tuts [Sold Out]
Feb. 23 – Manchester, UK – Gorilla
Feb. 26 – London, UK – Village Underground [Sold Out]
Feb. 27 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
Feb. 28 – Bristol, UK – Thekla [Sold Out]
Mar. 03 – Paris, FR – La Maroquinerie
Mar. 04 – Brussels, BE – Botanique – Orangerie
Mar. 05 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso
Mar. 07 – Berlin, DE – Heimathafen
Mar. 08 – Hamburg, DE – Nochtspelcher
Mar. 25 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works**
Mar. 26 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse**
Mar. 27 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel**
Mar. 28 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club** [Sold Out]
Mar. 31 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club** [Sold Out]
Apr. 01 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer**
Apr. 03 – Chicago, IL – Vic Theater** [Sold Out]
Apr. 04 – Minneapolis, MN – First Ave** [Sold Out]
Apr. 07 – Lawrence, KS – Granada**
Apr. 08 – Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room**
Apr. 09 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theater
Apr. 11 – Indio, CA – Coachella [Sold Out]
Apr. 18 – Indio, CA – Coachella [Sold Out]
Apr. 22 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater^
Apr. 23 – Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s^
Apr. 24 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s^
Apr. 25 – New Orleans, LA – Civic Theater^
* w/ Guy Blakeslee
** w/ King Tuff
^ w/ Luluc

Father John Misty Website l Facebook l Twitter

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