Josh Tillman isn’t prophetic, but in the writing of his forthcoming third album as Father John Misty, Pure Comedy, he seems to have been able to tap into issues that have only gone on to take over more and more of the public consciousness, for better and for worse.
Today, after a dark, saddening weekend, he’s released the second song from the album, “Two Wildly Different Perspectives.” The song itself examines the ways both sides of political debate contribute to the toxic discourse and truly dangerous environment that we’ve found ourselves enveloped in. As he sings over piano chords and lush string arrangements, you begin to realize that the humor and irony that was once laced throughout his songcraft isn’t there. At his performance at the Newport Folk Fest last summer, a day after he received attention for going on a political “rant,” he encouraged the audience to take a moment to feel “really, profoundly sad” at the state of affairs. This song, along with the album’s title track, seem to indicate that’s exactly how he’s been feeling.
As for the video, it’s heartbreaking. Created by Matthew Daniel Siskin with “footage from everyone,” it shows children playing with toy guns, some dressed in camouflage, showing no qualms with aiming the weapon at a friend’s head. Hearing Tillman sing “One side says ‘kill ‘em all’/The other says ‘line those killers up against the wall’” over these images is chilling.
Accompanying the video’s release, he included this note:
“More kids are going to die now thanks to the unbelievably selfish immigration policy of places like Saudi Arabia and the USA.”
Sometimes music can serve as an escape. Sometimes it serves to make you think. Now is a time to think.
Pure Comedy is out April 7 via Subpop, and is one of our most anticipated albums of the year. Watch the video above and check out his 2012 Daytrotter set, a reminder of a slightly simpler time, below.