(Photo Credit - Ward & Kweskin)
Father John Misty (a.k.a. Josh Tillman) is one of the most gifted songwriters on the music scene today. He's witty, sharp, and full of emotion depending on this mood. With a single utterance, Tillman can pose queries about our place in the universe, discuss the woes of life and love, or rail against society as an ultra-state of hyper-communication/consumerism that would make Orwell shit his britches. Tillman brought it for his newest release Chloë and the Next 20th Century.
Lyrically, Tillman is at his finest on this release. He weaves a tale of how the death of a cat rekindled a romance and he tells stories of misery and loss. More so than on his other work, he does so quite literally, but that's not to say he's taking the easy way out. By no means, Tillman is just as sharp in 2022 as he has been over his previous releases.
Musically, this album is thick. There's a lot going on and it might not necessarily be the most accessible record to fans. Each track is more even-keeled than the last with it's use of string accompaniments and old Hollywood brass. There are approximately two prevalent uses of electric guitar on the album, the first in "Q4" and the other in the form of a guitar solo in "The Next 20th Century". Both are surprising in their use in comparison to their surroundings, but not at all unwelcome.
Don't let my thoughts on the music scare you away from Chloë and the Next 20th Century. It's a welcome addition to Father John Misty's discography, where we see him at perhaps what is his most playful. If you've been a fan of that side of Tillman in the past, you'll be sure to love this.
Rating - 4/5