By Harry Heath
Amidst the recent years, Josh Tillman has been better known for his drumming in Fleet Foxes. He made several, more-so soppy albums, with intended tiny ripples. Three years ago, he was reborn; rechristening himself Father John Misty. Tillman has managed to escape the shadow of Fleet Foxes, and I Love You, Honeybear is his second album under the new alias; a follow up to his 2012 project- Fear Fun.
Whilst Fear Fun was a relatively up-beat album, I Love You, Honeybear is a slow burner with a heavier, more intimate focus on the lyrics. On the opening title-track, Tillman believes finding another damaged person to share his life with is the best he can hope for. However, as the album unfolds, a very moving transformation is made, rather than dull acceptance of his current mindset. Another of the prominent highlights of the album is lead single, Bored In The USA. The ambitious piano ballad, mixed with canned laughter, brings out Tillman’s stunning vocals, which are otherwise softened in the rest. The lyrics are hilarious, slightly cynical, and very open ended. It is perhaps my favourite track on the album.
The album’s narrative provides an insight to Tillman’s personal life. The lyrics are raw, and the sound is soothing. Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins) manages to balance the innocence of re-losing one’s virginity and the fun of experiencing this feeling with someone you care about. Some key lyrics from the album are found in When You’re Smiling, and Astride me, these centre around his fear of losing his new found love. ‘I can hardly believe I found you // And I’m terrified by that.’ Most of the decisions we make are decided out of love or fear, and the song perfectly encompasses that confliction.
Whilst most songs track Tillman’s struggle to accept love in his life, The Ideal Husband lists all his faults; it contrasts heavily to the rest. Although the whole album could be referred to as a self-reflection, the song itself is standalone very interesting. It is a closing confession to this very intimate album.
With the end built into the beginning, I Went to the Store One Day brings I Love You, Honeybear to a close. Tillman meets Emma Garr in a parking lot and asks her name. He reflects on his new found outlook and is bewildered to see his world turn completely around. To summarise, the album is a beautiful, raw exploration of love; marriage, and derangement. Father John Misty will relate to your despair with his own, but in doing so he’ll make you feel a bit better about it.
Verdict – WWWW