The king of satirical songwriting has released his fourth studio album, an indescribable, heart wrenching and anguished account of the recent months. Performing under the moniker Father John Misty, Josh Tillman has released God’s Favorite Customer, his most personal album yet. The LP was written in two months while Tillman was briefly living in a New York hotel. As a result, this album is smartly written and filled with hasty apologies and attempts at reasoning. God’s Favorite Customer will have you sitting in a lounge, smoking cloves, and pining for your lover.
God’s Favorite Customer is a collection of of Tillman’s less satirical thoughts; the album takes a sharp focus on love. The album was written while Tillman and photographer wife, Emma, were separated during a two month period. Such separation pains are featured prominently in melancholy piano based melodies, propelling the album into an existential love-sick observation on loneliness and companionship.
The first track, “Hangout at the Gallows” is a literal chance for Tillman to look into the mirror and ask, “What do you do?” A self-reflective track, “Hangout at the Gallows” explores depression and trying to survive the daily monotony. The second track and first single released, “Mr. Tillman”, is an upbeat and off-kilter recollection of Tillman’s spiraling out of control in a NYC hotel. The track relies on Tillman’s tongue-in-cheek observations, and accurately and hilariously walks the listener through his latest antics. The crown jewel of the album is one of Tillman’s most honest pieces, “The Songwriter”. The lyrics briefly chronicle the abrupt, temporary end to his romance with Emma. Only a piano accompanies Tillman’s dysphoric vocals with a haunting sincerity. The lyricism is poignant and tear jerking as he refers to his wife as his “little songbird,” and the exchange ends with Tillman earnestly asking, “Goodbye, little songbird, now you’re free. Don’t forget I’m the only fan of yours. Who has the sense to ever leave you be. How could you do this to me? What would it sound like if you were the songwriter. And loving me was your unsung masterpiece?”
God’s Favorite Customer is Tillman’s step back from his ego-fueled binge writing. The album is inherently about him, but through the somber lens of a man who has experienced a loss and caused pain. Tillman’s appeal comes from his self-obsession, but perhaps a near-catastrophic loss has shown Tillman there is life after himself. (Konstantina Buhalis)
Favorite Tracks: Just Dumb Enough to Try, Please Don’t Die, God’s Favorite Customer, The Songwriter
For Fans Of: Sharon Van Etten, Fleet Foxes, Cass McCombs