Single Reviews – Father John Misty – Ballad of the Dying Man, Two Widely Different Perspectives 

Joshua Tillman a.k.a Father John Misty will release his third studio album Pure Comedy on April 7th and has released two tracks this week to follow up on the release of the title track of the album the week before. Seemingly, he is taking the role of a by-standing narrator for the world around him, a world which he believes is becoming so far fetched that it’s at best hilarious and at worst terrifying. In what is to be a very political album, he lays his attack on everyone and that “we’re all complicit” for the state of the world today and suggested that we all have a lot of questions to ask ourselves. No one is really safe from Tillman’s narrative and that’s what makes it so fixating. 

‘The Ballad of the Dying Man’ is an example of such writing. That he writes each song in a distinctly American songbook style only heightens the irony on which his lyrics thrive. Amongst the flowing piano chords, stringed together with gentle acoustic strumming are his swipes at the ‘homophobes, hipsters and one percent’ and the idea that a dying man would check his news feed on his last breath. Bold and uncomfortable lyrics encased in this familiar and warm sound is what makes this song and his recent catalogue of music as a whole. With ‘Two Widely Different Perspectives’ he swipes at the common topic of war and division. He places his verses in two parts with each a comparison that brands both sides the same. With both tracks we can see how his vocals are even stronger than two years ago and is developing a style somewhere between Harry Nilsson and Paul Simon; a comparison in part for he is his own artist, but something he’s becoming worthy of. 

Owen Riddle