From Pure Comedy, out now on Sub Pop.
While we’re all thinking about nuclear armageddon and waking up every morning to check to see if Guam still exists on the map, FJM treats us to a little glimpse of our post-apocalyptic future where the ravaged planet is littered with protest signs, skeletons, and abandoned iPhones. Good morning, beautiful!
“Things It Would Have Been Helpful To Know” is a piano ballad with gorgeous strings and horn arrangements (by Jacob Cartwright and James King, respectively) that works as an effective background to Tillman’s snarky descriptions of an unplugged life. “My social life is now quite a bit less hectic / The nightlife and the protests are pretty scarce.” “The obscene injunction to enjoy life disappears as in a dream.” “We all get a bit restless with no one advertising to us constantly.”
This all reminds me of the great Hugh Brown Shu spoken word piece, “A Real Talk Show,” where the little girl with no arms and no legs confronts the narrator who has attempted to force Geraldo to dig beneath the surface. “If it’s so bad, Mister Hugh Brown Shu, why don’t you end it all right now, huh? You’ve got the gun. It’s all pain, it’s all anger, oh it’s so terrible! So why don’t you just shove that piece in your mouth and end it all? Do us all a favor: get rid of yourself! Do you think you’re helping us by walking in here? What are you, some maverick agent of truth?”
I think about that a lot in these days of constant commentary and outrage porn. Josh Tillman likes to point out how shallow our lives are. But as the little girl with no arms and no legs says, “To what ends? Yes, the show’s shallow. Of course it’s shallow. That’s why we watch it. Wow, what a fucking crusader you are!”
Father John Misty is the crusader we deserve.