Father John Misty develops his musical persona in ‘God’s Favorite Customer’
Father John Misty’s fourth LP, God’s Favorite Customer, lives up to the hype created by the success of his previous album. Pure Comedy was released only last year and was regarded as one of the best albums of 2017. Misty’s new album, released June 1st, proves he is a prolific artist with an endless talent for writing satirical, witty and romantic music.
While significantly less political than Pure Comedy, Misty’s trademark sharp commentary still features in God’s Favorite Customer. For this album, Misty appears on the cover for the first time. The dramatically lit image depicts Misty holding his head in shame or disgust, presumably because of the state of the world or his persona’s own problems based on the content of the songs.
‘Mr. Tillman’ was the first single released from the album. The title breaks the fourth wall by referring to his real name, Josh Tillman. It is God’s Favorite Customer’s standout song due to its darkly humorous narrative and beautiful melody. The nightmarish music video shows Misty mid-breakdown whilst stuck in a loop that renders him unable to leave a strange hotel.
Other highlights of the impressive album include the mournful ‘The Palace’. Misty sings ‘I’m in over my head’ in an unexpectedly tortured yet hushed voice, creating a chilling atmosphere as the heavy piano chords strike. By contrast, the playful and upbeat ‘Date Night’ depicts a vain ladies’ man, showing off Misty’s self-aware writing style by addressing his character’s stereotype.
Despite this aspect to his persona, Misty is also a romantic. Each of his albums contain stunning love songs, often directly naming his photographer wife, Emma. This is most evident on the new album in songs such as ‘Please Don’t Die’. While the song seems to describe Misty’s depression, there is also hope as the chorus demonstrates the deep connection he has with his wife as he sings ‘You’re all that I have so please don’t die’. The artistic, clay-animation music video touches on similar themes as it depicts Emma rescuing Misty from an open grave.
One of the album’s main strengths is its diversity, with each track varying greatly in theme and tone. While less grandiose than previous albums, the range of instruments sets it apart, such as its wonderful coalescence of synth, piano and guitar.
Even though the messages in God’s Favorite Customer aren’t as in-your-face as in Pure Comedy, this album is still powerful, smart and haunting and continues to demonstrate Misty’s wide-ranging talent.
Image credit: Father John Misty (Bandcamp)