Father John Misty – God’s Favourite Customer | Review

Josh Tillman, aka “Father John Misty” has produced another romantic yet satirical masterpiece. God’s Favourite Customer is a departure from sing-along acoustic ballads, and a move toward truly heartbreaking, but at times hilarious, folk.

The opening track to the album, “Hangout at the Gallows” demands the listeners’ self-awareness, with “What’s your politics/ What’s your religion?”. Father John wants us to know that they’ll let you drown if your answer is wrong. Yet, since the track is followed by the funny, bourgeois, self-deprecating Mr. Tillman, the album’s tone is not one of self-righteousness and pitying those following one path. It is instead one of confusion and the consciousness of failure.

“Just Dumb Enough To Try” is the first really vulnerable track on the album, reminiscent of “Nancy From Now On” from 2012’s Fear Fun. The track is confessional, personal and transparent, and divergent from Tillman’s usually acerbic tone.

Meanwhile, “Date Night” is a return to portraying the discomfort of arrogance and failure. Using a similar chord pattern to Mr. Tillman, the song perfectly portrays the self-accepted awkwardness of romantic endeavour:

Nothing impresses me much
I’ve got a great attitude
And a map to the stars

Tillman seems to utilise a different and vaguely dislikeable character in each song. In “The Palace” the character we are encouraged to mistrust is “my true love”, who seems to have our protagonist entangled in their snare. The discordant, melancholic bass notes in the background affirm this desolation.

Empire writes that “God’s Favorite Customer turns away from the human condition <https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jun/03/father-john-misty-live-review-dublin-gods-favorite-customer&gt;. This is evident in the eponymous track “God’s Favourite Customer”, where the speaker employs angels to answer his prayers by speaking in an accusatory and desperate tone.
The album does not conclude, however, on a tone of desperation or arrogance, but one of guilt, with “The Songwriter” and “We’re Only People (And There’s Not Much Anyone Can Do About That)”. In “The Songwriter”, Tillman asks if his partner would make their living off of him, questioning his own status as a romantically struggling yet candid songwriter, and the morality of this; is loving Tillman an “unsung masterpiece” of dedication in itself?

Frances Wilde
franceswilde@hotmail.co.uk
+353 83 043 9326

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