Father John Misty: God’s Favorite Customer
On Father John Misty’s third album, Pure Comedy, singer-songwriter Josh Tillman presented a veritable manifesto, his sardonic worldview sprawling out across almost 75 minutes of philosophizing folk like a cynical Randy Newman in a particularly brutal hangover. On his follow-up, God’s Favorite Customer, Misty reigns it in a bit, seemingly aware of how rewarding but exhausting his last record was—no 13-minute screeds to be found—and on “Please Don’t Die” he even sings, “Oh God, you must have woken up/ to me saying that it’s all too much/ I’ll take it easy with the morbid stuff.” Fear not—Father John Misty hasn’t become James Blunt. There’s still plenty of dark wit and disappointment with humanity to parse through here. The catchy “Mr. Tillman” is purely self-effacing, a faux dialogue between the singer and a hotel front-desk clerk: “You left your passport in the mini-fridge, and a message with the desk said the picture isn’t his,” he sings, to which he responds, “Oh, baby, don’t be alarmed. This is just my vibe,” before pairing his whistling with a xylophone fade-out. Misty doesn’t experiment far beyond his well-worn brand of apocalyptic folk on God’s Favorite Customer , but his songwriting is strong across the album’s first half. “Just Dumb Enough to Try” has all the dusty, country ache of a Gram Parsons tune, but the relative modesty of the album is a double-edged sword—it’s a more fun, engaging listen on one hand but, on the other, it lacks the absolute gems that fans discovered after focused listens to Pure Comedy.