I Love You, Honeybear


I Love You, Honeybear is a tragic exposé into the creative process of J TIllman’s mind. The abundance of minor keys and sad chords suite the voice of Tillman all too well, yet it’s far from what one might call an album of “sad songs”. Yes, there are sorrowful songs, but when listening to I Love You, Honeybear, one can’t help but smile. The songs are lathered with sarcasm and irony, yet throughout all of seeming nonsense that Tillman sings, there is a true sense of heartfelt sincerity to everything he says.

Tillman released his debut as his moniker Father John Misty, Fear Fun, in 2012, and since marrying his wife, Emma, his style has become even more developed. His wife, filling the role of this “honeybear” has permeated the style of Tillman’s voice without coercion out any of the raw emotion found on Fear Fun. Instead, there are a whole slew of new emotions Tillman utilizes to draw the listener into his novel-esque mind, think jealousy, contempt, devoted love, and unfulfilled promises.

Yet the transition from lady’s man into husband is reflected multiple times throughout the album. Chateau Lobby 4 (in C for Two Virgins) is the dramatized account of FJM meeting Emma, and his romantic sardonicism coats the verses like honey coats a bear’s paw. “I wanna take you in the kitchen // Lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in”, and “I haven’t hated all the same things as somebody else since I can remember” both reflect the heartfelt cynicism that is prevalent throughout the course of the album.

And still there are FJM’s critic of the middle class and consumerism, found on Bored in the USA, a play off of the Springstein chorus with a similar message. Tillman isn’t one to shy away from admitting the foibles of United States capitalist society, and is unabashed in his lines  “By this afternoon I’ll live in debt // By tomorrow, be replaced by children”. The entire song is a condemnation of the world around him, and is far from forgiving, and yet surprisingly got itself on Letterman.

All in all, I Love You, Honeybear is another glimpse into the artistic torrent that is Joshua Tillman’s mind, and although his style has shifted from the chaotic narrative of non-committed nomad to an “Ideal Husband”, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and the music that came out of this album might have us one step closer to understanding the enigma that is Father John Misty.