FATHER JOHN MISTY
I LOVE YOU, HONEYBEAR
Here we are… At #1. To be honest, any one of these top 6 albums could be at #1. I did have to choose one, though. This release definitely deserves it.
J. Tillman is a very unique talent — As funny and whip smart as any comedian working today, as talented and alluring a songwriter as the greats, as brilliant and engrossing a storyteller as we have seen in a long time. Tillman has packed all of the above into 11 sardonic little jewels on “I Love You,
Honeybear.” These songs are treasures. Wry. Mordant. Bitter. Honest. Heartbreaking. Lovely. Lovable. All of the above. It’s an album specifically about his relationship and marriage with his wife, photographer Emma Elizabeth Tillman (nee Garr), but there is SO much universal experience here. I found myself in these songs. Not in that my experience mirrors his in any way, but they do act as a mirror for the thrills, excesses, mistakes, losses and little victories in all of our lives, whatever the specifics.
But what puts it over the top for this year? Again… Any of the top 6 could be in my #1 spot. For me, it was the last 3 songs on “I Love You, Honeybear.” Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the album is sterling. Sterling. But those last three songs (“Bored In the USA,” “Holy Shit,” and “I Went To the Store One Day”) act, for me, as a perfect triptych for our modern existence. There are SO many lines worth quoting here that I won’t even start, but Tillman absolutely captures life as so many of us know it. The laughtracks alone on “Bored In the USA” are one of the most genius and heartbreakingly haunting choices I have heard on a record in a very long time. All of that is laced over 3 real songs, performed perfectly and with exceptional production to boot. The power of these songs is immediately evident in their ability to make me laugh hysterically and cry wistfully often at the same time.
I could say more about this one, but it’s better to tell you to just listen. To experience. This album will be opening doors for a long time for me. That I know.