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June 14, 2018

God's Favorite Customer is Father John Misty's coming of age

by Nene Narh-Mensah, Staff Writer
On June 1, indie rock and folk singer Josh Tillman, also known as Father John Misty, released his fourth studio album God's Favorite Customer (GFC). In it, he dives into themes of religion and atheism, as well as ecstasy and depression, which he weaves seamlessly into an evocative album sure to impress.

All three of Tillman's past albums deal with these subjects, but GFC marks the birth of a more contemplative Tillman. The album resonates with a chronicle of a person on a journey searching for answers to many burning questions: What do I do now? Am I deserving of success? Am I doomed to fail?
Misty's experiences while struggling with depression and delusions help shape the album's reflective feel. Courtesy of Variety
Misty's experiences while struggling with depression and delusions help shape the album's reflective feel.

While the album does not showcase extraordinarily impressive instrumentals, Tillman pushes the boundaries on his vocals, stretching for the higher notes during most of the choruses. GFC lacks the comedic absurdity present in his previous albums, but it's easy to tell that it was a deeply personal undertaking for Tillman as it includes his trademark self-deprecation without society's glaring critiques. For example, in the song Just Dumb Enough to Try, he sings, "I know a few ten-cent words. I can break out to keep up with her. But you can take what I know about love. And drown it in the sink."

Misty's experiences while struggling with depression and delusions help shape the album's reflective feel. GFC is full of contradictions, which effectively illustrate the burdens of a troubled mind. Over the course of the album, Tillman goes from feeling low to feeling high, desiring intimacy but craving adventure and wanting the truth but endorsing lies. The underlining of his hypocrisies creates a sense of unease that pushes the listener to examine their own actions.

For example, in Hangout at the Gallows Tillman addresses his depression. In the following track, Mr. Tillman, he paints a picture of the dazed euphoria of constantly being drunk. The next song, Just Dumb Enough to Try is a love song in which Tillman describes his desire for intimacy, but his not being able to connect with his wife. Then in Date Night, Tillman makes fun of the swindler archetype as a person devoid of any substantial relationships. And the list goes on. The last track, We're Only People, marks the end of all contradictions in the album, highlighting Tillman's desire to change himself.

Overall, the myriad of thoughts and emotions expressed, combined with Tillman's vocal prowess, make God's Favorite Customer a great listening experience and is sure to spur the listener's own soul-search.

Favorite Tracks: Hangout at the Gallows, Mr. Tillman, Please Don't Die, We're Only People
Least Favorite Tracks: Date Night, The Palace

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