The Serious Genius of Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy

Father John Misty: Pure Comedy

At first glance, Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy might sound like the recorded version of a clergyman moonlighting as a stand-up comic, but in actuality it’s the latest studio album from the former Fleet Foxes drummer. Try to imagine Elton John as an American folk artist with lyrics penned by Randy Newman or Conor Oberst, and you’ll have an entry point into the sardonic, acid-tongued, yet filmic world of singer-songwriter Father John Misty (née Josh Tillman).

While Pure Comedy periodically sounds like the type of luciferous debut album Aimee Mann or Kate Bush might’ve composed had they been born male, only time and perspective will ultimately determine if this turns out to be Father John Misty’s career-defining album, although he’s undeniably grabbed our attention.

[Read Full Review]

 

Panic! at the Disco: Death of a Bachelor

P!ATD

Panic! at the Disco: Death of a Bachelor

Panic! at the Disco’s fifth studio album, Death of a Bachelor could be considered frontman Brendon Urie’s tabula rasa, as he is now the only remaining original member and in complete control of the alternative rock band. Currently sitting atop Billboard’s Top 200 Album’s chart, Urie’s latest offering has been described as lyrically and thematically inspired by the singer and multi-instrumentalist’s two-year adjustment period to married life.

Although the 11-track set clocks in at a mere 36 minutes, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to digest here. Death of a Bachelor jump starts with the cheerleader-like recitations of the hyperactive opening track “Victorious,” but quickly switches gears to the sobering lyrics of “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time.” The ode to over indulgence begins with a sample of “Rock Lobster” by The B-52’s, and finds Urie openly confessing: “Don’t think I’ll ever get enough / Champagne, cocaine, gasoline / And most things in between.”

We’re then plunged ears first into the jazzy refrains of the title track, which exudes sentimental reflections of leaving single life behind, then without warning we’re immersed into what sounds like an intimate conversation between Urie and his wife during “Crazy = Genius.” The referential Beach Boys homage allows us to be privy to Urie’s inner dialogue: “She said you’re just like Mike Love, but you’ll never be Brian Wilson / And I said if crazy equals genius then I’m a fucking arsonist / I’m a rocket scientist.”

Omnipresent lyrical avowals coupled with a multitude of contrasting musical styles, Death of a Bachelor ultimately sounds like the aural equivalent of Queen and Sinatra doing a mountain of cocaine-manic, but in an acutely engaging way. The album’s artful combination of youthful confessions and various proclamations of debauchery, all coalesce to make a peculiarly eclectic, yet decidedly gratifying album.

As the last man standing in a band that previously existed as a quartet, Urie ironically manages to create an album that ironically sounds the most like the band’s 2005 debut, almost begging listeners to ponder if perhaps Brendon Urie has been the dominant force of the band all along?