Father John Misty, “Pure Comedy”

Folk-rocker Father John Misty’s new album comes out April 7th. It’s called “Pure Comedy,” and the first track of the same name was recently released.

FTM is using the word “comedy” more like Dante would than Comedy Central. In his first album he was a hard-drinkin’, honky-tonkin’ lady killer. On the next it had all turned around, he had been the one killed by a lady. Now it looks like the cynically poetic songwriter is ready to swivel his sights to the stars and grasp at a teary-eyed “meaning of it all.”

“Pure Comedy,” the song and the album, starts with somber piano chords and an instant proclamation of purpose: to zoom out into the heavens, Kurt Vonnegut-style, and critique all of mankind with sharp, satiric fillet-strokes.

The fantastically dark and moving music video is a perfect visual stimulus to accompany the ballad.

The video is a slideshow: outer space, a fetus, the earth, a baby elephant, dancing dollars, the inside of a church, the Trump inauguration, a cat cuddling with a monkey, pills poured into a pill counter, all to the dark but uplifting soundtrack of dense orchestration and sultry, crooning vocals.

A sea of grotesque black-and-white drawings of humans — featured on the cover of the upcoming album — are repeatedly shown in the video performing all sorts of caricatured acts: hunting, fishing, attending sports events, bowing to blenders, polluting the air with a skyline of factories.

There is an increase in volume and lyrical depth-of-content-matter and eventually the absurdity of the dark and light of life, the yin-yang emotional nonsense of humanity seems to come to a critical point and burst like a bubble.

You feel like little specks from that bubble as a listener, tingling and floating in space above Earth — which is the view that is shown in the video at that point in the song — and the final lyrics also coincide with this theme: “…there’s nothing human left. Just random matter floating in the dark. I hate to say it, but we’re all we’ve got.”

 

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