Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
Sub Pop, 2015
Josh Tillman’s first album as Father John Misty—2012’s Fear Fun—was a beautiful and weird examination of ego and personal mythology set in a Hollywood of drugs and debauchery delivered with pure swagger. It was my favorite record that year, and its followup, I Love You, Honeybear, is poised to be my favorite record of 2015. I know it’s early, but goddamn, Misty gone an done it again!
I Love You, Honeybear is a disarmingly romantic record. Compared to the wall-to-wall weirdness and self-indulgence of Fear Fun, it’s a joy hearing a record of songs about how much Tillman loves his wife. There’s no simpering sentiments or any of that mushy stuff, but there are plenty of moments that hit you right in the heart. Right down to the guts. It’s a record about not just finding someone to watch the world burn with, but also finding someone who makes you understand that love is a transformative process two people undergo, and openly willing to make that transformation.
It’s a photorealistic portrait of true love. There are still a lot of drugs and weird sex involved, but this time around, Misty has someone to share in the experience. On “Chateau Lobby (in C for Two Virgins)” Tillman belts out “First time you let me stay the night despite your own rules/ You took off early to go cheat your way through film school/ You left a note in your perfect script/ Stay as long as you want/ And I haven’t left your bed since” before a mariachi band punctuates the sentiment with big, brassy horns.
Sweetness, sexiness, and swagger blur into one big, unnamable emotion just like the album’s two central characters. The emotions are so large and earnest, I’ll probably shed an actual tear of Josh and Emma Tillman ever divorce. Honestly, all I want from music is honesty and when honesty is spilled out so openly as it is on Honeybear, I tend to obsess. Or maybe I’m just happy that someone finally made a record for my sect: Married Dudes Who Deeply Love Their Wives. I’ve always been an enormous fan of break up albums, but goddamn is it refreshing to hear such an artful examination of getting together and staying that way.
"Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)" - Wait for that punctuating mariachi solo and tell me you're not sold!