“Maybe love is just an economy based on resource scarcity,” sings Josh Tillman on the track “Holy Shit”. It’s this sort of wit and honesty that has made Tillman a.k.a. Father John Misty such an interesting character in the indie folk genre since his 2012 debut Fear Fun. Tillman’s musical and lyrical skills are on full display on his latest project, I Love You, Honeybear, with this release demonstrating improvement upon the sound of his previous work as well as bringing in more layered instrumentation and far more intriguing lyrics.
This is not to say that Honeybearlacks variation. Nearly every track has a distinct feel and style. “When Your Smiling and Astride Me” is a beautiful soul track, complete with female backing vocals and whirling organs. The song “The Ideal Husband” feels like a garage rock tune with a hint of country, similar to Jack White’s recent work. This track paints a hilarious picture of the complete opposite of an “ideal husband”, and serves as a perfect contrast to the following track “Bored in the USA”, which is the album’s true climax and best track. The song begins as a somber piano ballad, seeing Tillman reflect on how marriage is viewed in today’s culture. “Oh good the stranger’s body’s still here, our arrangement hasn’t changed” sings Tillman. Strings enter the track as Tillman delivers some of his most humorous yet bitter lyrics on the album. “They gave me a useless education, and a sub-prime loan on a craftsman home”. His lyrics are accompanied with a laugh track, complementing his over-the-top social commentary, yet as the listener, you feel very far from laughing, possibly because Tillman is right.
Josh Tillman has truly outdone himself with Honeybear and will hopefully continue his creative streak for years to come. In the meantime, us fans will have plenty of time to bask in the beautifully melodies and lush instrumentals as well as time to ponder Tillman’s dense lyrical content. Honeybearis an album that gets better with every listen and is so enjoyable that it will keep listeners coming back for more.
“True Affection” Feels a bit out of place