Tuesday marked the release of my favorite-so-far album of 2012, Father John Misty's Fear Fun. It's certainly the album that I've listened to the most this year - though "listened to" isn't really the phrase I'd use. I feel like I've cocooned myself in this record for the last month - wrapped myself in it, buried myself in it, woke up to it and gone to sleep to it and had dreams where its songs were stuck in my head. This sounds a bit like obsession and maybe it is, but sometimes albums sync up with your life just perfectly, and for a month or two they're almost the only thing you want to hear.
Father John Misty is Joshua Tillman, who I had been in love with for quite some time even before Fear Fun cast its spell over me. A former Fleet Fox with an already impressive solo catalog under the moniker J. Tillman, the singer first whistled his way into my heart about five years ago with "My Waking Days," a hushed and captivating tune from Long May You Run, J. Tillman that I included on my Whistle While You Work mix. The more heard, the more I wished I could swap out every Ray LaMontagne CD and mp3 and record in the world for something by J. Tillman - here was a talent ten times as large making music ten times as beautiful, that would appeal to the same fans, but that deserved one hundred times the fame of LaMontagne.
Today is actually Tillman's 31st birthday, and in very hobbit-like fashion, we are the ones who are receiving the gift. In fact, it's as if Father John Misty is the birthday party version of J. Tillman - the musician I fell in love with in "My Waking Days" is still there, but he's been doing birthday whiskey shots. Now that he's tipsy, he's a little bit bolder, a little bit braver, confessional and sentimental in all the right ways but clearly having as much fun as anyone else in the room. Tillman's voice still has that touch of haunting fragility, but he sounds uninhibited now - like the slightly-soused birthday boy is standing on his chair to sing his heart out, and if he falls - well, that's the Fear Fun of it.
"Fun Times In Babylon"
"Misty's Nightmares 1 & 2"