2017’s Pure Comedy album marks the third stage in Josh Tillman’s saga under the pseudonym Father John Misty. Along with the album, Tillman shared an essay describing some of the meaning behind the new music:
Pure Comedy is the story of a species born with a half-formed brain. The species’ only hope for survival, finding itself on a cruel, unpredictable rock surrounded by other species who seem far more adept at this whole thing (and to whom they are delicious), is the reliance on other, slightly older, half-formed brains. This reliance takes on a few different names as their story unfolds, like “love,” “culture,” “family,” etc. Over time, and as their brains prove to be remarkably good at inventing meaning where there is none, the species becomes the purveyor of increasingly bizarre and sophisticated ironies. These ironies are designed to help cope with the species’ loathsome vulnerability and to try and reconcile how disproportionate their imagination is to the monotony of their existence.
As he confronts broad issues in popular culture, technology, and capitalism, Tillman shows what has made him one of the most intriguing artists of late. He visited the Stiegl Hidden Studio to perform solo renditions of two songs from the new album, plus the single “Real Love Baby.”