Nihilism: A Love Story
Josh Tillman, a.k.a. Father John Misty, isn’t shy enough to leave his nihilism at the door. He will let you know how shit he thinks technology is for our relationship culture or how deeply he hates the same things his wife does. Love, to him, can be a vehicle for money and a front for selfish temptation.
At the heart, or void, of “I Love You, Honeybear” is a man desperately coming to terms with the ins and outs of love, and how he is drawn towards what he hates. Tillman hates her use of technology for communication, her over exaggeration of importance, and just how beautiful she is.
He knows he is an asshole. In fact, his self-deprecation in relation to his pretention is what makes this album miles above similar indie counterparts. Not only does he criticize the world through his narcissistic lens, he is able to self evaluate his place in all the mess. There is an uncertainty in his voice, a tone of one too many shots of cheap whiskey. “I Love You, Honeybear” is brilliant and poetic, marking a high-point for the former Fleet Foxes drummer.
The song ‘Nothing Ever Good Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow’ sees Tillman crooning over sounds that would feel comfortable in the dive bar of a small town in Georgia. It’s slow and sappy but also quite intricate in its use of whirling strings behind southern blues. Tillman wails over being advanced on by numerous women at the bar, but then thinks to himself how his wife is going about the same experience: “is she strong enough to realize what we have?”
Through each of its 11 tracks, “I Love You, Honeybear” is a fresh new perspective on love, and a chronicle of a man who comes to terms with himself in the wake of finding the one.