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A Total Evaluation of Father John Misty’s “pure Comedy”

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A Total Evaluation of Father John Misty’s “Pure Comedy”

Music is a powerful form of communication. A single song can pose a strong message; however, a collection of songs crafted delicately together in an album can tell a story while invoking interesting thoughts. Josh Tillman, also known as Father John Misty, is an American folk rock singer-songwriter who recently released his new album, “Pure Comedy” in April of 2017. Through unusual and profound lyrics, Tillman has created a meaningful masterpiece of an album.

Music shouldn’t be created solely for entertainment. Unlike many current and popular albums, every word in “Pure Comedy” is important. You cannot listen to Tillman’s album passively because both the lyrics and melody serve a purpose. The lyrics are what make “Pure Comedy” so sincere, compelling, and different from the typical music you would hear on the mainstream radio or see on the top 100 songs list. Sadly, in many of today’s top hits, there are times in a song where melody overcomes context. For example, Taylor Swift’s “1989” album contains many songs that does not serve for anything more than total entertainment. In all honesty, when was the last time you listened to “pop-sensation” Taylor Swift and was surged with a meaningful message or provoked with any interesting thoughts? It just doesn’t happen often in popular media.

Tillman begins his album by providing a detached image of Earth from outer space, taking us on a striking odyssey towards trying to understand the human-race from an estranged point of view. The album’s first song,”Pure Comedy”, has everything to do with the human condition. It implicates the all-encompassing sadness and realization of how humans have no control over their lives. However, Tillman explains that, in reality, we have much more control than we let ourselves have yet we tend get blown around by incontrollable forces. Father John Misty builds upon this idea throughout the album, keeping a coherent and overall theme.

“Total Entertainment Forever” is the second song of the album. In this song, Tillman claims that we have made little to no progress as humans, even with the most advanced technology in the world. Tillman points out the irony of how technological advancement has not contributed to human progression but instead has made us more incompetent and oblivious towards life itself. Technology is coming to the point where it is encompassing our lives completely, which ultimately will lead to the downfall of our species. He claims that we are literally being entertained to death, leaving a disturbing image of the numbing toxin that we continue to spoon-feed ourselves. This daunting image of allowing technology to control us contributes to the development of the album as a whole.

As the album progresses, Tillman offers advice to those who feel like a prisoner to their beliefs in his song, “Birdie.” At first, the song seems a little ridiculous. Tillman opens with an image where he is literally singing to bird, offering it advice to “take off, little winged creature.” However, this bird is a reference to freedom. Just like a bird, you are totally capable of leaving behind your troubles. This song proposes Tillman’s idea that freedom is not as sophisticated as we think it to be. All of the money and success that many claim will allow you to be free, doesn’t give you freedom.



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