Father John Misty (aka Josh Tillman) has a new album coming out on April 8th. It’s Christmas in April, basically, if you’re me. Now can he please just tour and come to Arizona?
Chloë and The Next 20th Century is shaping up to be quite different from Misty’s previous records. The two songs we’ve heard so far are excellent: great big productions that feel straight out of a musical (“Funny Girl”) or a movie soundtrack (“Q4”). A massive departure from his most recent album, the sparse and depressing God’s Favorite Customer.
‘Q4’ is more upbeat, if just as cynical. The energy is more Chateau Lobby #4 than Disappointing Diamonds. You could really edit this song over a scene in Harold and Maude or The Graduate and it would fit right in. Misty, are you composing a soundtrack for some auteur filmmaker or something? Inquiring minds want to know.
The lyrics are classic Misty, too, cutting and witty. The Q4, of course, refers to the fourth financial quarter for some unnamed company in the entertainment industry. A somewhat cynical take on how art is used for profits, churned out and chewed up by the masses, raved about until the film adaptation is a disaster and the creator falls out of favor, outed for her “privilege.”
Simone writes little of much consequence Unless black box theater’s how you pay the rent A new work of some semi-memoir sits Inside the weekend book editors desk And while they have not mentioned it She must watch roses get thrown at less Oh, the indignity It was just the thing for their Q4 “Deeply funny” was the rave refrain It was just the thing for their Q4 It’ll be on stands before the holidays Her sister was not much long for this world She danced as if a dancer danced as if As if she had a body to sustain As if an audience to entertain This ironic distance kept her sane While her vessel sailed away It was all very literary And the truth was It was just the thing for their Q4 What’s “deeply funny” mean anyhow? It was just the thing for their Q4 These are the stories that we need right now How could she compete? (I’m sure she wouldn’t mind) With a memory such as she (But who else then I) Leigh died so many months ago (Could write the story of her life?) “By now this tragedy’s my own!” Oh It was just the thing for their Q4 “Deeply funny” was the rave refrain It was just the thing for their Q4 It’ll be on stands before the holidays It was just the thing for their Q4 The film adaptation was a total mess It was just the thing for their Q4 ’Til she was outed for her privilege It was just a thing for their Q4 Can’t see her brother now unsupervised It was just the thing for their Q4 Her family switched care right when she inquired…
And here’s “Funny Girl” which is less catchy but really feels like it’d be at home on the stage:
Yes, I ordered the ‘Deluxe Vinyl Box’ because I’m a shameless Father John Misty fanboy. I’ve seen him twice. Once at M3F in Phoenix and once at Red Rocks in Colorado. Both times were stunning live performances, among the best I’ve ever experienced. As much as I love his recordings, his live shows are something special.
For some reason, FJM works best for me when he goes arrangement-crazy (maybe it makes the biting lyrics hit more with the grand backdrops?), and "Q4" whips it up to Wes Anderson soundtrack levels. Looking forward to the album!