The 52 Album Challenge, Week 50: I Love You Honeybear // Father John Misty

In Album Reviews by Katy Sandalls


Father John Misty is a name I have heard banded about a lot in the past few years but until this week I couldn’t tell you anything about him or name one of his songs. So finally with only a handful of albums left to review I came to I Love You Honeybear.

I’m not sure what I was expecting with this album. The title leads you to believe that it will be full of beautiful and harmonious – if a little clichéd – love songs. To an extent that is true; there is some element of love in these songs but it’s not quite what you would expect.

Amongst the love and longing in these songs there is an adultness to everything that is quite in contrast to the gooey title.

Casual swearing and lust give a really subversive feel to the whole record. Something that is also reflected in the album cover.It takes a while to get used to but once you have the album proves itself as an experience.

The range of styling and sound on the album is satisfying in a rounded but not to introverted way. Misty – or Joshua Tillman as is his real name – really understands when and where his voice sounds good. Considering the level of experience that he has in the industry this is not surprising.

What may be considered surprising is the ease with which he moves between these not always subtle style changes. An arc de triumph in musical terms. A mix of gentle folk, upbeat pop music and electronica greets anyone who listens to this album. At no point do any of these styles feel out of place. They all seem to fit guided by the consistency of Misty and his sheer vocal quality.

Perhaps this week was not a brilliant one to listen to this album. Tracks like ‘I Love You Honey Bear’ are so smooth, so musically soothing that I ended up rather too relaxed by the end. Which when you are feeling tired after a long week of deadlines is perhaps not the greatest.

For a voice to have such natural power and emotion though is perhaps the greatest tribute that could be paid to Misty.

My song of the week is probably the title track, ‘I Love You Honey Bear.’ There’s just something about the song that really gets to me. Perhaps it’s that contradiction between the title and the actual song. Maybe it’s the well-constructed timbre that makes me think of loneliness. I’m not sure but that, along with the unconventional and very personal lyrics that Misty uses, make me really appreciate the song.

All things considered this was a really interesting addition to the collection. It’s not a million miles away from the folk pop I’m used to but takes it in an interesting direction. No wonder names like Lady Gaga have collaborated with him in the past.

Definitely one to listen to if you are looking for some old yet new at the same time.

50 down. 2 to go.

By Katy Sandalls (@katysandalls)

Father John Misty