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Father John Misty – Pure Comedy 

June 3, 2017

With the witty lyricism of Randy Newman and the pop sensibility of Elton John, Father John Misty (FJM) skewers our culture artfully.

2012’s Fear Fun is one of my favorite albums of this decade.  I Love You, Honeybear was a worthy follow up.  Pure Comedy makes it a hat trick.

FJM is Richard Dawkins cynical about religion (from the song “Pure Comedy”):

Oh, their religions are the best

They worship themselves yet they’re totally obsessed

With risen zombies, celestial virgins, magic tricks, these unbelievable outfits

And they get terribly upset

When you question their sacred texts

Written by woman-hating epileptics

This album is one of the finest pop criticisms of contemporary culture I have heard in a long time – especially pertinent given it is not coming from a jaded baby boomer millionaire bard (depending on your definition FJM is at the tail end of Gen X or an early Millennial).

FJM has even gotten more cynical since his last album – an impressive feat.  However, these are cynical times.  Musically it is mellower album, but not dour.  FJM continues to conjure elaborate pop arrangements.

This album has not been in constant rotation for me like his first two.  I have let rest for several weeks and it sounds better having had a chance to breathe.  It now sounds more Beatlesque and the lyrics more relevant.  For example, on first listen “Leaving LA” was too slow, too long and too stark, now it seems just right.  Now I appreciate the Spartan framing – it allows you to focus on the vocals and lyrics.  Here is a lyrical highlight from “Leaving LA:”

These L.A. phonies and their bullshit bands

That sound like dollar signs and Amy Grant

So reads the pull quote from my last cover piece

Entitled “The Oldest Man in Folk Rock Speaks”

I kind of like that Father John Misty is making us work for it.

P.S. Thanks for the ambitious packaging as always FJM!.

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From → Music Reviews

9 Comments
  1. jprobichaud permalink

    Fear fun is always one of my favourite albums of the decade and while I love the two that have followed, I don’t listen to them as much as I still do the first album. He is brilliant songwriter and lyricist and a fantastic showman live.

  2. You mention Randy Newman. That has my attention.

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