Baby, Be Gentle, It’s My First Time: Father John Misty’s “I Love You Honeybear”

Written by on February 17, 2015

I Love You Honeybear, the second full length release from Father John Misty, aka Josh Tillman drummer of folk band Fleet Foxes, was recently released on Subpop Records. Father John followed up his well received debut Fear Fun with an album that moves from the predecessors lighthearted tone to a more somber, guilt ridden feel. The release was met with much anticipation as well as some unhappy fans who purchased the deluxe edition.

The album opens with the title track “I Love You Honeybear,” Tillman sings of his dysfunctional relationship, including smeared make up, bodily fluids, and family history of mental illness. It leads into “Chateau Lobby #4,” the second single from the album. Tillman sings of going on his first date with his now wife, he sings “I’ve never done this, baby, be gentle, it’s my first time” talking about his falling in love for the first time. “True Affection” comes in with more synthesizers than I’ve ever heard from any of Josh Tillman’s catalog, it becomes clear that he’s making a statement about how technology has created a disconnect in relationships today.

The fourth track opens in a delightful Mo Town sounding groove, “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.” The title is pretty self explanatory for the most part; some lucky (maybe not so lucky) girl from Tillman’s past is boasting about her relationship with the musician. What you don’t know is that Father John really doesn’t like anything about this woman, he thinks she’s self centered and pretentious. “When You’re Smiling and Astride Me” is one of the most touching songs I’ve ever heard by Father John. He talks about being completely open in his relationship with his wife, it’s somewhat of a relationship goal, in an odd way. The sixth track greets you with a honky tonk style riff, that reminds you of being in some dive bar. Entitled “Nothing Good Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow”, (the song comes off as something straight out of the Showtime series, Californication) Tillman acknowledges his own machismo, and concerns of him objectifying the thing he loves the most. “Strange Encounter” describes a scene right out of Pulp Fiction, the one with Uma Thurman, yeah you know that one. What Tillman takes from this is that he’s been giving away his love to women that didn’t deserve it.”The Ideal Husband” is full of frantic guitars as Misty tells his lover everything of his past, and questions whether she’d still love him after that’s all said.

The first single from the album “Bored in the USA,” talks about the struggle of being stuck in the middle class, the death of the American Dream, as well as the question of our purpose in today’s anonymous society. The tenth track “Holy Sh*t” (written on Tillman’s wedding day) is hyperbolic in it’s stance towards marriage, he realizes the totality of this decision and everything that can go wrong. The album closes with “I Went to the Store One Day,” which recounts the very first time Tillman met his wife in a hazy fashion and ends it with the very first words he said to her.

In short, this album comes from a different place than Father John Misty’s debut. It comes from a more honest place, not just honesty to the listener but to Tillman himself. He doesn’t skimp on the self deprecation, it makes him come off as a little more like one of us. The album above all else is about falling in love for the first time, and the mania of emotions that accompanies being in love; the fears, tears, the letting go of the wild bachelor in you, the settling down, and most importantly the realization you’ve found what it is you were looking for all those years.


Thanks for reading and leave a comment letting us what you thought of the album!

Enjoy these videos and links also too, first one is a video of Father John Misty singing “Bored in the USA” as I mentioned, then is my favorite FJM song “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” for and  FJM’s video for Chateau Lobby #4, lastly is Tillman covering Nirvana. Enjoy!

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