“I Love You, Honeybear” Album Review

“I Love You, Honeybear,” from Sub Pop Records, is Joshua Tillman’s 2nd studio album under the moniker Father John Misty. Tillman has been self-releasing solo albums and EPs under this name since 2003, and he is most notably known for his involvement as drummer for the Fleet Foxes.

Tillman’s raucous live performances propelled him onto Late Night: With David Letterman where he performed his sarcastic ballad “Bored in The USA” with an entire string section. Berthed from a life-changing trip on psychedelic mushrooms, “I Love You, Honeybear” is a concept album that is a personal foray into Tillman’s life. It is there that he shares his experiences of love, his wife, and confronting his life in America.

Tillman’s tongue-in-cheek lyricism includes social critiques, blunt confessions, and artistic imagery. His songs move along as stories and keep your attention with wide variations of instrumentation and audio mixes. With personnel of nearly 27 contributors, his music ranges from electronic dance on “True Affection,”to rock-n-roll on “The Ideal Husband,”to over the edge laugh tracks on his big number “Bored in The USA.” The only comparison I can make to the variety of sound is his touring contemporary Damien Jurado.

The album cover for "I Love You, Honeybear"

The album cover for “I Love You, Honeybear”

Tillman’s vocals are a huge part of this album, especially on “Bored in The USA.” Singing is the centerpiece with lyrics that are meant to hit and stick. Lyrics such as “save me white Jesus”, “they gave me a useless education”, and “keep my prescriptions filled” critique white America’s culture and its disillusionment.

This album really has everything, even a stripped down country song “Nothing Good Ever Happens At The Goddamn Thirsty Crow.” The song freatured hilarious lyrics such as “it’s hard to believe that a good hearted woman could have a body that would make your daddy cry,” among harsher language, contributing to how Tillman deals with his more forward female fans.

“I Love You, Honeybear” is a beautiful amalgam of cultural critiques, choral singing and genre bending that continues to delight Father John Misty’s fans and the like. In a Marc Maron interview, Tillman said “the purpose of recorded music, to me, is to make it so there is no past”.

You can listen to this album on 90Fm and catch updates on 90Fm’s Facebook WWSP90FM.

 

Dylan Shanahan

90Fm Station Manager

dshan230@uwsp.edu

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