Last Friday, Father John Misty released his latest album, Pure Comedy, where the new-wave folk-rock singer brings modern meaning and electric touches to traditional folk fundamentals.
Misty uses Pure Comedy as an outlet to vent about his current distaste with modern day society. The artist has an array of songs that are purely meant to criticize how people are ignorant and simple when it comes to lifestyle and entertainment.
The satirical tone of Pure Comedy is not surprising when taking into account Misty’s mischievous past. His endeavors include mockingly covering artists such as Taylor Swift, trolling music sites and even claiming to have stolen items such as a crystal.
In the song, “Total Entertainment Forever,” Misty sings about how people are becoming more and more satisfied with mass produced entertainment of poor quality. He refers to the human race as “demented monkeys,” and chastises it for enjoying conformist music by Taylor Swift.
Misty delves even deeper into his frustrations in the 13-minute song “Leaving L.A.” The singer calls out “LA phonies” for their superficial values. He sings about how LA bands only write music about money and women. He also describes what it is like to be famous in a place where the industry uses your name just to exploit you.
The artist furthers the somber theme of his music with his moody and draggy voice, which is actually quite beautiful. On top of the simple melodies led mainly by an acoustic guitar or grand piano, his mellow tone conveys his overall message well.
In songs such as “Ballad of a Dying Man,” listeners can get a really good sense of Misty’s rich voice. Solely accompanied by a simple guitar and piano melody, the vocals are soothing and clear. Listening to this song with headphones can lead you to feel encompassed in the wispy melody.
The new album also contains an array of trippy sound effects. In the song, “Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution,” a train horn blares during one of Misty’s uplifting tirades about social justice. The loud horns add density to the words Misty is preaching to the listeners, putting forth his overarching theme of frustration.
Despite mostly sticking to his classic, dreary vocal style throughout his songs, Misty keeps his songs dynamic by either giving them complex structures or going into aggressive rants to differ the mood.
In “Birdie,” one of the trippier songs, Misty adds a wide range of instruments and synthetic sounds in varying volumes in order to create a whimsical feel. The introduction of the song contains buffering electric waves and scratchy, airy buzzes. The verse cuts into the introduction with a euphoric duo between Misty’s voice and a soft piano melody. After the verse, the sound of rushing water and static lead into a set of instruments including a series of string instruments and horns convulsing in a mind-bending discord.
In many instances, Misty’s misanthropic rants are rather annoying. Every song portrays a new reason why he is disappointed in the human race because of its lack of taste and bad tendencies. A lot of albums I personally enjoy have a central theme and have some outliers that give the listener some diversity.
Pure Comedy does not reflect that notion whatsoever.
I find Pure Comedy a hard album to review because of its simple complexity. Digging deep into the lyrics and instrumentals, it is easy to say that Misty put a lot of thought and musical genius into each and every track. At the same time, his over exaggeration of one particular message throughout the whole album is daunting. Misty goes as far as making some of his most tyrannical songs over eight minutes long.
Listening to the album as a whole is not completely necessary, and I actually only recommend the songs that are less than five minutes long, such as “Ballad of a Dying Man” and “Smoochie.” Both are relaxing, soothing tracks that can definitely coerce you to fall into a deep and fulfilling nap.
I give Pure Comedy a 7 out of 10. A lot of the small details and moody rhythms are extremely appealing, when you don’t pay attention to how much Father John Misty hates everyone.
Contact CU Independent Arts Writer Sam Danshes at firstname.lastname@example.org.