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Music / Father John Misty

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Joshua Michael Tillman, aka. J. Tillman aka Father John Misty (born May 3,1981) is an American Indie Rock singer-songwriter, musician and record producer.

Beginning his musical career in 2004, Josh Tillman released seven albums over the years under his own name, (albeit just the initial), to little success. In 2008, he also began drumming for the Folk Rock band Fleet Foxes, writing his own songs on the side.

Then, in 2010, Tillman decided he'd had enough. So he escaped his old life to L.A. and reinvented himself. A drug-induced realization occurred to him while sitting naked in a tree: he should just be himself. "The sarcastic, overcompensating asshole." This persona, the one that came to be called Father John Misty, is the one he released his 2012 album, Fear Fun, under.

His songs are known for just that: witty, seethingly sarcastic, darkly humorous lyrics, most often accompanied by grand, orchestral, swinging arrangements.


  • Fear Fun (2012)
  • I Love You, Honeybear (2015)
  • Pure Comedy (2017)
  • God's Favorite Customer (2018)
  • Chloë and the Next 20th Century (2022)

I'm writing a trope page, because that's never been done before:

  • Anti-Love Song: Most of Father John Misty's love songs are actually played straight, as they often concern his wife, although they still tend to drip with sarcasm as usual. "The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment" is an example of this though, apparently about a pretentious, insufferable woman he had some sort of relationship with... While hinting that he's not much better in that regard himself. The final lines say it best:
    I obliged later on
    When you begged me to choke ya
  • Becoming the Mask: "Leaving LA"
    So why is it I'm so distraught
    That what I'm selling is getting bought?
    At some point you just can't control
    What people use your fake name for
  • Darker and Edgier: Pure Comedy compared to the first two records. It's more brooding and deals with Tillman's dissatisfactions with the state of entertainment, culture, the environment and the world in general in the New 10s. It does have a Surprisingly Happy Ending, still.
  • Epic Rocking:
    • Pure Comedy features four songs clocking over six minutes, uncommon in his other work. They are the Title Track (6:25), "So, I'm Growing Old On Magic Mountain" (9:58), "In Twenty Years Or So" (6:27), and his longest song "Leaving LA", at 13 minutes and 12 seconds.
    • Chloë and the Next 20th Century closes with "The Next 20th Century". (6:56)
  • Heavy Meta: "Leaving LA" describes itself as a "10-verse chorus-less diatribe" and predicts that it will make his fans abandon him.
  • Laugh Track: "Bored in the USA" uses this for Black Humour.
  • List Song: "Holy Shit" is a rather sweet example: it's pretty much a list of everything wrong with the world, with the reminder that none of that really matters when you're with the one you love.
    And maybe love is just an institution, based on resource scarcity
    But what I fail to see is what that's got to do with you and me
  • Shout-Out: "Mr. Tillman" name-checks Jason Isbell.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Pure Comedy ends on "In Twenty Years or So," after over an hour of Misty lamenting the state of mankind in 2017. It's a song about accepting your insignificance in the grand scheme of things and focusing on the good things in our measly human lives. In his case, it's Emma, his wife. Even instrumentally, the album ends on a single, gentle prayer bell.
    But I look at you
    As our second drinks arrive
    The piano player's playing This Must Be the Place
    And it's a miracle to be alive
  • Textless Album Cover: All of his album covers.