Fear Fun

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Fear Fun
Fearfunfatherjohnmisty.jpg
Studio album by Father John Misty
Released April 30, 2012 (2012-04-30)
Genre
Length 43:24
Label
Producer
Father John Misty chronology
Singing Ax
(2010)Singing Ax2010
Fear Fun
(2012)
The History Of Caves
(2013)The History Of Caves2013
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 83/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[2]
The A.V. Club B[3]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[4]
The Independent 5/5 stars[5]
MSN Music B+[6]
NME 8/10[7]
Pitchfork Media 7.3/10[8]
Q 4/5 stars[9]
Spin 7/10[10]
Uncut 8/10[11]

Fear Fun is the first studio album released by American folk musician Josh Tillman under his pseudonym Father John Misty. It was released on April 30, 2012, in the UK and Europe on Bella Union, and in the rest of the world on May 1, 2012, on Sub Pop[12] Produced by both Tillman and Jonathan Wilson, the album was released following Tillman's departure from Fleet Foxes.

The album debuted at No. 43 on Top Rock Albums and at No. 123 on Billboard 200, with 4,000 copies sold in its first week.[13] It has sold 83,000 copies in the US as of February 2015.[14]

Background and recording[edit]

In 2009, Josh Tillman decided that he no longer wished to record under the pseudonym J. Tillman. In 2012, he stated, "I remember specifically finishing Year in the Kingdom and then beginning to work on what would become Singing Ax, and I clearly knew Singing Ax was going to be the last "J. Tillman" record ever because I just didn't want to do it anymore."[15]

Underlining this change in character and the choosing of the new moniker, Tillman admits the following in an interview for the Dallas Observer: "I used to do these J. Tillman shows and I would play my sad-wizard, Dungeons and Dragons music and watch people's eyes glaze over [...] Then, in between songs, I would start being myself and shooting the shit and telling jokes. ... All of a sudden, people were rapt with attention and I had this very devastating and sobering realization that I was way better at that part of the show than the music part."[16]

In addition to the quote above Tillman states that personally he wasn't pleased with the slow and sad style his music was often associated with: "Songwriting for me had always only been interesting and necessary because I saw it as this vehicle for truth, but I had this realization that all I had really done with it was lick my wounds for years and years, and become more and more isolated from people and experiences. I don’t even like wound-licking music, I want to listen to someone rip their arm off and beat themselves with it. I don’t believe that until now I’ve ever put anything at risk in my music. I was hell-bent on putting my preciousness at stake in order to find something worth singing about."[17]

This contrast between the music he was making and the person he really was led to a crisis concerning his work as a musician: "I lost all interest in writing music, or identifying as a ‘songwriter’. I got into my van with enough mushrooms to choke a horse and started driving down the coast with nowhere to go. After a few weeks, I was writing a novel, which is where I finally found my narrative voice. The voice that is actually useful. It was a while before that voice started manifesting in a musical way, but once I settled in the Laurel Canyon spider-shack where I’m living now, I spent months demoing all these weird-ass songs about weird-ass experiences almost in real-time, and kind of had this musical ‘Oh-there-I-am’ moment, identical to how I felt when I was writing the book. It was unbelievably liberating. I knew there was never any going back to the place I was writing from before, which was a huge relief. The monkey got banished off my back."[17]

The "monkey" he's speaking about is specified in an interview for No Depression as a wrong idea of oneself: "When I was in high school I wanted to be an obscure singer-songwriter. I really wanted to be one of those guys that nobody knew about, and in some weird way, I fulfilled that. It all makes perfect sense to me. I wanted to be like Townes Van Zandt, Nick Drake, or Gram Parsons. Somebody who was respected but unknown. That was the most romantic thing to me. Guys like Richard Buckner. And as I was doing those records, I felt like I was part of the club, and I got to meet some of those guys. It was like I got invited into the inner sanctum. I was really into it for a long time, but I just ran out of things to do in it. [...] At some point, I realized that in order to go where I needed to go, and where I wanted to creatively, I had to kill that mythology and I had to kill that idea. I said to myself "You are not "that", you are a man." You have to not want to be anyone else, or want to be "anything" else. You have to just be what you are. I realized that I am a smart-ass, and that I have always been a kind of smart-ass. So when I realized that, I realized that I had an obligation to start including my sense of humor and my actual, true, conversational voice in my music in order for it to be exclusive to me, and not to be just my best stab at trying to be a preexisting idea."[15]

Not fulfilling preexisting ideas Tillman used some sort of arbitrariness finding his new moniker 'Father John Misty'. For TheVine he explained himself as following: "I had to give it a name, so I kind of wanted to confuse people with this ridiculous red herring [and] admittedly patently ridiculous name that’s also phonetically beautifully and looks good in print. Sort of a name I’ve decided to give to this weird, subconscious, dream fragmentation I have of this homosexual, shamanic drifter who bounces around [and] stirs up weird shit in my dreams. Like making out with my brother. So I guess the aggregate of all those things just felt right. But really and truly, the whole thing is just kind of about the fact that it really doesn’t matter what the fuck you call yourself, as long as the goods are in the explicit honesty."[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Josh Tillman.

No. Title Length
1. "Funtimes in Babylon" 3:39
2. "Nancy from Now On" 3:54
3. "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" 3:10
4. "I'm Writing a Novel" 3:35
5. "O I Long to Feel Your Arms Around Me" 2:23
6. "Misty's Nightmares 1 & 2" 3:13
7. "Only Son of the Ladiesman" 4:09
8. "This Is Sally Hatchet" 3:57
9. "Well, You Can Do It Without Me" 2:43
10. "Now I'm Learning to Love the War" 4:16
11. "Tee Pees 1–12" 3:16
12. "Everyman Needs a Companion" 5:19
Total length: 43:24

Music videos[edit]

Title Directed Link
"Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" link
"Nancy from Now On" link
"This Is Sally Hatchet"
"I'm Writing a Novel"
"Funtimes in Babylon"

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

  • Josh Tillman – vocals, guitar, drums, percussion, various instruments
  • Jonathan Wilson – electric guitar (4, 6, 8 and 9), bass guitar (2, 4, 8 and 12), piano (6, 7, 10 and 12), organ (4, 5, 9 and 12), 12-string guitar (6, 7 and 12), mandolin (1 and 12), wurlitzer (10 and 11), acoustic guitars (1), trumpet (1), baritone guitar (10)
  • Keefus Green – piano (1, 2, 4 and 11) synthesizers (2), mellotron (8)
  • Gabriel Noel – strings (1, 2, 8 and 10), upright bass (1)
  • Casey Wescott – bass guitar (3 and 7), harpsichord (8), piano (8)
  • Wylie Gelber – bass guitar (6, 9 and 11)
  • Leslie Stevens – backing vocals (1, 5 and 12)
  • Zach Tillman – bass guitar (5 and 10)
  • Ben Peeler – pedal steel (11 and 12)
  • Hugo Nicolson – omni-chord program (2)
  • Sara Watkins – fiddle (11)

Production[edit]

Artwork[edit]

  • Dimitri Drjuchin – cover painting, interior artwork
  • Emma Garr – insert photograph
  • Jeff Kleinsmith – design
  • Sasha Barr – design

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Reviews for Fear Fun by Father John Misty". Metacritic. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  2. ^ Monger, James Christopher. "Fear Fun – Father John Misty". AllMusic. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  3. ^ Hyden, Steven (May 1, 2012). "Father John Misty: Fear Fun". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  4. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (December 20, 2012). "Father John Misty: Fear Fun – review". The Guardian. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  5. ^ Richman, Simmy (April 29, 2012). "Album: Father John Misty, Fear Fun (Bella Union)". The Independent. Archived from the original on May 6, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 29, 2013). "Ray Wylie Hubbard/Father John Misty". MSN Music. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  7. ^ Cooper, Leonie (April 30, 2012). "Father John Misty – 'Fear Fun'". NME. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  8. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (May 14, 2012). "Father John Misty: Fear Fun". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Father John Misty: Fear Fun". Q (311): 101. June 2012. 
  10. ^ Bevan, David (May 8, 2012). "Father John Misty, ‘Fear Fun’ (Sub Pop)". Spin. Retrieved September 3, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Father John Misty: Fear Fun". Uncut (181): 68. June 2012. 
  12. ^ "Sub Pop Records : Father John Misty : Fear Fun". Subpop.com. 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  13. ^ Emily White (February 20, 2015). "Modest Mouse Scores First No. 1 on Adult Alternative Songs". Billboard. 
  14. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on February 11, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b Mateer, Chris (2012-04-30). "Interview: Father John Misty (Josh Tillman) Delivers "Fear Fun" - No Depression Americana and Roots Music". Nodepression.com. Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  16. ^ Hopkins, Daniel (2012-05-24). "Just Who Is Father John Misty?". Blogs.dallasobserver.com. Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  17. ^ a b "Sub Pop Records". Subpop.com. Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  18. ^ "Father John Misty: "Typically people want boring dudes who play nice music." - Life & pop culture, untangled". TheVine. 2012-06-12. Retrieved 2013-09-03. 

External links[edit]