At this rate, Father John Misty is going to run out of album to share well before Pure Comedy drops on April 7. He’s already shared the title cut, a short film and the gun violence meditation “Two Wildly Different Perspectives.” Keeping the subject matter and the flow of new music nice and heavy, the man born Josh Tillman just released “Ballad Of The Dying Man” — a nearly five-minute look at what passes through someone’s head right before they leave Earth.
It’s a harrowing and hilarious listen, with the titular man wondering who will take up his causes once he’s gone and checking his social media one last time over Misty’s piano and strings arrangement. It slots right into Misty’s plan to deal with the big cosmic issues and the joke of existence on his upcoming album, full of song titles like “Total Entertainment Forever” and “When The God Of Love Returns There’ll Be Hell To Pay.”
Misty explained the album’s intent in an essay that he sent out along with the announcement of the new album. So, here’s a bit of what he expects it to be in his own words.
“Pure Comedy is the story of a species born with a half-formed brain. The species’ only hope for survival, ﬁnding itself on a cruel, unpredictable rock surrounded by other species who seem far more adept at this whole thing (and to whom they are delicious), is the reliance on other, slightly older, half-formed brains. This reliance takes on a few different names as their story unfolds, like “love,” “culture,” “family,” etc. Over time, and as their brains prove to be remarkably good at inventing meaning where there is none, the species becomes the purveyor of increasingly bizarre and sophisticated ironies. These ironies are designed to help cope with the species’ loathsome vulnerability and to try and reconcile how disproportionate their imagination is to the monotony of their existence.”
Taking on all of mankind in a single album feels impossible, but these early tastes of Comedy make it seem like Misty might just pull it off.