Father John Misty’s Orchestral Epic ‘Pure Comedy’ puts Everything in Perspective

With his sophomore album, I Love You, Honeybear, Father John Misty gave his listeners a lot to mull over; the intimacy of romance, the starkness of our political landscape and of course mortality, and what potentially lies beyond. The hipster beard and references to drug culture and yoga may suggest that his more philosophical musings aren’t as legitimate as they might’ve seemed, but his latest track ‘Pure Comedy’ is perhaps his most searing indictment of society yet.

Much like 2016, ‘Pure Comedy’ is a slow-build into unparalleled chaos, mirroring his satirical piano ballad ‘Bored in the USA’. Misty croons over a solitary piano before the song erupts into a sprawling number, brimming with a ruminative jazz section and driving orchestral pomp.

Misty questions everything from religion (‘And they get terribly upset/When you question their sacred texts/Written by woman-hating epileptics’) to capitalism (‘They build fortunes poisoning their offspring/And hand out prizes when someone patents the cure’), but he doesn’t leave his criticisms unattached. The track’s video provides an equally acerbic accompaniment featuring Obama, Trump, John Cena, Kanye West and popular meme Pepe the frog alongside black and white cartoons that draw some similarity to Quentin Blake illustrations circa-The Twits. Directed by Matthew Daniel Siskin, the cartoons engage in all manners of debauchery and when interspersed with shots of some of 2016’s most outspoken characters (real or fictional), it results in a dizzying melange of stark imagery. As per usual, Father John Misty doesn’t mince his words and as catastrophic as his vision is, his final words, as hesitant as they are, do offer some hope in unity: ‘I hate to say it, but each other’s all we got’.

9/10

Images courtesy of NME and DIY Mag

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