Watch Father John Misty’s Sensational Performances On SNL

My first impression of Father John Misty when he launched his career a couple of years ago was that of a novelty act. Here was a clever songwriter, alright, but it was hard to tell if he was satirizing 1970s Folk Rock or being sincere with his sometimes outrageous lyrics and his grand, dramatic gestures onstage. I concluded that, as with most things in life, the answer lay somewhere in the middle – he’s doing a little bit of both.

A few weeks ago when he pre-released the title track from his new album Pure Comedy (arriving April 7) I noticed a couple of things. First, the songwriting seemed more focused and more relevant. Instead of dealing with drunken episodes in dive bars, the song was clearly about current events, and Misty’s lyrical barbs seemed sharper than ever. Secondly, he was backed by a large and kick-ass band, complete with horn section, a move that somehow suits his material perfectly, giving it a jazzy swagger it didn’t have before.

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But I certainly did not expect to get blown away like I did by his performances on Saturday Night Live on the weekend. His first number was called “Total Entertainment Forever”, which begins with the line: “Bedding Taylor Swift every night inside the Oculus Rift/After mister and the missus finish dinner and the dishes.” And it just gets better from there, a crazy take on the human condition with a great melody that just won’t leave your ear.

The second number was even better, the track “Pure Comedy”, a roller coaster ride of a song that really shows why this guy is so exciting. The song takes absolutely deadly shots at a certain way of thinking and living, although in a hilariously rambling 2,000 word essay about the album Misty insists that he’s not taking political sides but rather lamenting what the human race has become, and based on the song’s poignant last line – “Each other’s all we’ve got” – you’ve got to believe him.

Until I saw these performances I didn’t realize how good Father John Misty really is. I think he may be on the verge of a big breakthrough with this new album. Now is the perfect time for this guy to become a major star.


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