Indie bro messiah and former Fleet Foxes drummer Father John Misty has had his soul "impregnated and dilated" by Taylor Swift, and, in a recent Q&A with Rolling Stone magazine, has declared her both "disturbing" and "dangerous."
This is very entertaining, but it's also very Father John Misty.
About five times a year, I get frustrated because I can't figure out how I feel about Father John Misty (real name: Josh Tillman). Usually, I'll tweet something about it and a bunch of men will jump into my feed to express their disbelief that I was not immediately enthralled with I Love You, Honeybear.
The only song on that album that really made me feel anything in a notable way was "The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apartment," which I love and hate in equal measure. The music video, in which Tillman meets himself at a bar and takes himself home for a night of lovemaking, is pretty good though.
I guess the main thing that bugs me is that I can't quite figure out if this guy is genuine, a troll, or somewhere in between. He's purposefully provocative for sure, but he mixes just enough self-deprecation in with his antics and lyrics to make me unable to decide if his music stems from a genuine place of self-loathing or if his entire shtick is one big joke. (It reminds me of a dream I had years ago that Michael Bublé was mad because his entire career was meant as a giant, postmodern joke that "nobody got.")
"The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apartment" is full of snide, misogynistic put-downs, but it's equally full of self-loathing and insecurity and goddamn it, I just can't decide if I love or loathe it. He's obviously saying mean things about this girl because he feels bad about not being able to get it up, but they are such mean and hateful things. Part of me feels that this indecision stems from the fear that I am basically the girl he's describing in the song, though I've never "hoovered" anyone's drugs, and I know what "malaprop" means.
Anyway, I'm still undecided on him overall, but I have to admit to enjoying his antics, and this recent Taylor Swift thing is one of my favorites. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone (via US Weekly) Tillman recounts his acid-fueled T-Swift concert experience:
Certain ideas that you'd be quick to dismiss can be viewed with the significance that they deserve," Tillman said of tripping on acid. "The last time I took a hero's dose of LSD was at a Taylor Swift concert in Australia. She was playing in Melbourne, and I met a bunch of people from her crew at a bar, and they invited me to the show. I got my tour manager to get me some acid: 'This is written in the stars. I'm supposed to go take acid at this Taylor Swift concert.
I experience the show like an 8-year-old girl — as much as that's possible for a 35-year-old man," the artist told Rolling Stone. "It was holy. It was psychedelic. She fully impregnated my dilated soul with her ideology. I remember laughing uncontrollably. I remember going outside for a smoke and thinking, 'I need to get back in there.
Then things got a little serious.
There was a disturbing aspect," Tillman detailed to the mag. "This insistence on telling girls, 'I'm normal, don't let anyone tell you what you should be,'" he recalled of Swift's conversation with the crowd. "If you wanted to curate an evening with the Grand Leader, this is what you would do. It's a very, very false normal. And that's dangerous.
This isn't Tillman's first tangle with Taylor. Last year, he released his interpretation of Ryan Adam's interpretation of Swift's 1989. It all just sounded like Lou Reed and I enjoyed it a lot.
Tillman addressed this in the same Rolling Stone Q&A, though failed to mention the bit about Lou Reed appearing to him in a dream, which was my favorite part of the whole saga:
I was taking this dude to task for what I saw as a grotesque stunt and matching it with another grotesque stunt," Tillman said of Adams. "It ironically became the biggest publicity I've ever received, and that grossed me out. I had to take them down. Which then, of course, made it even bigger. It was such a comedy of errors.
The thing is, I don't totally disagree with him in either case. Taylor Swift does present this "normal girl next door BFF" kind of thing, but all of her BFFs are skinny, tall, mostly white models (plus Lena Dunham). That's not really "normal" but I wouldn't go so far as to call it "dangerous." (I do have to say that she seems to be really nice to her fans, which I appreciate.)
I also found the Ryan Adams 1989 covers to be the epitome of indie mansplain-y nonsense; 1989 was a good album on before Adams touched it, but his repackaging of it suddenly made it "okay" for a bunch of dudes to view her work as legit. This probably has more to do with Adam's fans than Adams himself, and using "grotesque" to describe the situation seems a bit much.
So yeah, I still don't know if I like Josh Tillman or not, but I can't deny that I am entertained, which means he's doing a pretty good job as an entertainer. Have you all made up your mind about this guy? Can you help me do so?
Seriously, let's get to the bottom of this.