<em>I Love You, Honeybear</em>

There’s a lyric placed smack in the middle of Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear that could very well be the album’s thesis statement. “I may act like a lunatic,” the man otherwise known as Josh Tillman sings, “but if you think I’m fucking crazy, you’re mistaken.” Much can and has been written about Honeybear’s unabashedly lovestruck subject matter. The album is, in many ways, the sober, serious, marital-bliss-filled follow-up to FJM’s druggy and sardonic debut, Fear Fun. But in between — and in the midst of — those moments of saccharine sweetness (“Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins),” “I Went to the Store One Day”), there’s still Tillman, brandishing the smart tongue, dry wit, and coy croon that has endeared us to him from the start. Musically, Honeybear, like its predecessor, wears its ’70s psych-folk-blues touchstones on its sleeve. Producer Jonathan Wilson is at the helm yet again, and his penchant for capturing big drum sounds, warm guitar tones, and enveloping orchestral swells perfectly serves Tillman’s attention-demanding tenor. In other words, even if you don’t choose to engage with Honeybear’s humbling, acerbic observations on love, lust, and American apathy, it’s still a really pretty record. But for those who do bother to listen a bit harder — or, better yet, catch Tillman live in all his over-the-top lothario glory — Honeybear will reveal itself to be one beautifully complicated meditation on self-perception and how love can so thoroughly shake our foundations. Crazy, right?


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