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Putting Y’all On: I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

In early May, I scrolled through Spotify, fruitlessly looking for any new songs that may have dropped from the music artists I followed, and besides finding a couple of new remixes from songs that came out a year ago, I didn’t see much that stood out to me. Listening to music is one of my literal favorite things to do ever, but I was so bored by every single playlist I had. 

That’s when I decided I needed to find a new artist to obsess over. I decided to check out Father John Misty, who isn’t necessarily an underground artist, but I had never really gotten into him before. Even after his “Let the Light in” collaboration with Lana Del Rey, I didn’t pay him much attention because I thought his sound was a lot more mellow and calm than it actually was – AKA, I thought it would be background music that I would study to. I was obsessed with their song, but I didn’t feel inclined to listen to him at first. But, I was bored, so I went to his discography, clicked on a random album, and gave it a listen-through. 

I ended up listening to that album non-stop for the entire summer…  Religiously. 

So, naturally, I hopped on Google and did some research on him. The thing I love most about his work is that he is big on satirical lyricism and a major critic. He also is a wildly eccentric performer, most-notably making headlines in 2016 for walking off stage at XPonential Music Festival in Camden, New Jersey 20 minutes into his 50-minute set. This occurred after he began his set by questioning what was going on in the world, especially with the “numbing” role of entertainment in modern society, and then telling the audience to not applaud him. It was definitely an awkward experience for those in the audience, but this instance displays what driving emotions and forces in the world catalyze him to perform his music. He is a real character.

To understand the scope of his work, you should know a couple of things about him, one being his real name is not Father John Misty, but Joshua Tillman. Tillman was raised by evangelical parents and he himself grew up wanting to be a pastor at first, mainly due to the performance aspect. His incredibly religious parents created a stifling environment for him growing up, even banning secular music from the house, and he soon believed Christianity to be oppressive. Luckily for us, he found a loophole through the music of Bob Dylan, convincing his parents Bob Dylan was a Christian artist so he could listen to him. As an adult, he was the drummer for Fleet Foxes for a bit before finally going off on his own. His stage name, Father John Misty, is what he simply refers to as his alter-ego, or a meaningless symposium of syllables. I think the “Father” title in his name was included ironically, as he is an avid critic of religion. 

I’m going to y’all on I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty. It’s a concept album about his personal life, most notably about his wife Emma, with hints of satire, criticisms of modernity, and depictions of true intimacy. There’s so much going on and I wish I could write about every single song, but I’m gonna limit myself to three:

“Chateau lobby #4 (in c for two virgins)”

I decided to include this song first because it is my absolute favorite song of all time, and I truly, whole-heartedly mean that. It’s written about Father John Misty’s wife, Emma, and how they would run around LA together. He equates falling in love with Emma to having sex for the first time, reflected by his lyrics, “I’ve never done this / Baby, be gentle / It’s my first time / I’ve got you inside / People are boring, but you’re something else completely”. Him and Emma’s love is undoubtedly unconventional, as the two are described to play piano around the lobby of Hollywood’s infamous Chateau Marmont and to wed after only two years of being together. The usually cynical Father John Misty is essentially pouring his heart out and jumping into this exciting connection, screwing modernity and convention by pledging allegiance to her. To them, marriage is not death or a stifling tether – it’s so worth the plunge. Ugh, so beautiful. I’m gone. 

Whenever I listen to a new love song, I associate it with whatever boy is in my life, and then if that connection doesn’t work out, that new love song is ruined for me for the rest of time. However, “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” is such a beautiful love song that I refuse to associate or share it with any man until it feels right. I would make it my wedding song if I could if it were a lot less, well… spicy. It truly means that much to me. 

“the night josh tillman came to our apartment”

So… This song is definitely not about his beloved Emma. I feel genuinely bad for whatever girl (likely a one-night stand or a failed situationship) he wrote this about because wow, he must really have hated her. The subject of this song is depicted to be superficial, self-absorbed, and as someone who walks all over him. She’s all the so-called negative modern girl traits piled into one being: ignorant, obsessed with picking apart all astrological signs but her own, and unable to utter a sentence without “like” or “literally”. 

The narrator wants us to hate this girl, but I can’t help but wonder if one of the reasons why he hated her is because she threatened his masculinity. He writes, “Oh my God, I swear this never happens… I feel so unconvincin’ / When I fumble with your buttons.” Hmm… Interesting. This entire song is just a series of insults, but for some reason, it’s one of my favorites.

“Bored in the usa”

Father John Misty doesn’t play about the dullness of everyday American life. “Bored in the USA” is riddled with Misty’s several critiques on humanity, ranging from the monotonous, mind-numbing labor that rules our days to the transactional, lifeless modern dating “relations”. Each lyric beholds something more to unpack about the current state of our society, and the song concludes with Misty essentially asking for his money back. I’m sure we’ve all researched the fallacy that is the American Dream, but this song takes this point a step further by deeming everything about American society as just plain boring. There was no illusion of freedom that was shattered for him during the song, he simply is just a hater. 

After listening to his song, I understood his agency behind walking out before finishing his set at the Camden festival. He is one of the few musicians in his genre that are willing to make people uncomfortable to illustrate their point. 

So, if you’re looking for a new album to add to your playlist, I strongly suggest Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear. It’s got everything: love songs, hate songs, and political commentaries, all enhanced by beautiful vocals and a folk and indie-rock sound. If his music isn’t within your typical genre of choice, I would say give it a listen anyways – maybe it’ll surprise you like it surprised me.

Cassidy Komar

West Chester '26

Cassidy Komar is the co-senior editor and writer for Her Campus at West Chester University. She is a Secondary English Education major from Havertown, Pennsylvania. Her articles range from commentaries on music to satirical pieces about girlhood. She is a member of the Kappa Delta sorority at West Chester and loves spending time with her sisters. Outside of school, she loves going to concerts, shopping, and going to the beach.