Album review: Pure Comedy
April 19, 2017
Filed under A&E
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I am in no way saying he is Jesus Christ, but if Father John Misty were to one day confess to being God himself, I would not be in the least bit surprised. The Rapture would begin and I would triumphantly say, “I told you so.” From Fear Fun to I Love You, Honeybear, Father John Misty (otherwise known as Josh Tillman) has been preparing the music industry and his ever-growing fan base for the newest release of his third studio album, Pure Comedy. Pure Comedy’s perfect mix of timeless cynicism, skepticism and humor assure his position as one of the most influential musicians of any generation, forefronting the newest rise of a group of revolutionary thinkers and intellectuals.
Despite his previous album’s ventures into satire and self-discovery, Tillman’s new album brings a broader level of unearthing to human disposition; a mirror for ourselves, the society we’ve created, and the transparency of human progress. Instead of fixating upon the temporary plights of the human experience, Tillman instead embarks towards challenging societal values by using wit to criticize and question widely ignored issues. This fact alone serves as one of the most prominent distinctions between this album and nearly all others.
Many dislike the consistency of the tracks, with piano ballads proving to dominate the album. Compared to his other, more lively albums, it’s understandable that some are disappointed with his lack of instruments historically defining his rock roots. With such a heavy concentration on the lyrics and the power behind them, to also focus on putting a heavy concentration towards the instrumentals would muddle the defining purpose of the album.
The witless criticism of this album extends past the instrumentals, but with any political and socially aware album comes major blowback. Any artist succeeding in focusing mainly on these themes will no doubt be rewarded with less streaming and purchases, but that’s a risk Father John Misty was willing to take when bestowing upon himself this duty of questioning societally accepted establishments.
Depending on your quality of music taste, we occasionally encounter socially aware lyrics, but it is rare we find an entire album dedicated to this satirical view of society and humanity. I enjoy listening to music simply for the enjoyment of it, not everything has to be serious. But when an album with such a consistent theme of social and political criticism comes along, we need to appreciate it for the rarity its is, if for nothing else.