It’s difficult to pick out the best Father John Misty lyrics, not only because there are so many good ones but also because...there are so many good ones. Josh Tillman isn’t much of a one-liner guy. He has the ability to string together thoughts and sentences that can sometimes stretch for entire verses coupled with a knack for rhyming syllabically, spawning the need to come up with unique cadences and phrasing as if the lyric landing hinges just as much in his delivery as it does on the actual meaning of the words.
Tillman is also a skilled social commentator and masterful in his use of imagery, irony and sarcasm. So, definitely give the entire song a listen (click on the song title) and maybe Google the lyrics too. But for the sake of brevity, we’ve found some lines that hit you right between the eyes. Here are Father John Misty’s five best lyrics.
5. “Nancy From Now On”
You could try and go deep and say the opening lines from this song off of Tillman’s debut 2012 debut as Father John Misty, Fear Fun, are about masochism or alcoholic self-loathing or switching gender roles. These are all valid interpretations. But the lines also conjure a really funny image.
“Oh, pour me another drink
And punch me in the face
You can call me Nancy”
4. “I’m Writing a Novel”
Another track from Fear Fun, the opening lines of “I’m Writing a Novel” also evoke an absurd image, something Tillman has a knack for. The first lines point to Tillman’s interest in psychedelic drugs while the last line highlights his deft use of sarcasm.
“I ran down the road, pants down to my knees
Screaming ‘please come help me, that Canadian shaman gave a little too much to me!’
And I'm writing a novel because it's never been done before”
3. “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)”
In these lines, Tillman seems to be referring directly to his wife, the photographer Emma Elizabeth Tillman. Not only do the lines bring about another great image, but they are also a touching intimation of Josh’s deep love and respect for his wife. "Chateau Lobby" is from FJM/s critically acclaimed 2015 album I Love You, Honeybear.
“Emma eats bread and butter
Like a queen would have ostrich and cobra wine”
2. “When You're Smiling and Astride Me”
Nevermind all that “Josh Tillman isn’t much of a one-liner guy” talk above. This line from “When You're Smiling and Astride Me” off of I Love You, Honeybear is possibly one of the best one-liners ever. We are most ourselves when we are alone and if you love someone as they are when they’re alone then you love their true self. See what he did there?
“Darling, I love you as you are when you're alone”
1. “Pure Comedy”
The titular track from FJM’s look into the absurdity of life in the early 21st century, “Pure Comedy” entertains the notion that the human race may be too smart for its own good, or too stupid. The second verse sees Tillman addressing organized religion, most notably its irrelevance and sexism. The song is Tillman at his best, making astute observations and using sarcasm, irony and imagery to drive his point home.
Oh, their religions are the best
They worship themselves yet they're totally obsessed
With risen zombies, celestial virgins, magic tricks, these unbelievable outfits
And they get terribly upset
When you question their sacred texts
Written by woman-hating epileptics