Father John Misty, ‘Bored In The USA’

By Robin Hilton  |  NPR

Father John Misty
Father John Misty Emma Tillman


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You might want to sit down for this one. The song is “Bored In The USA” and it’s the first single from Father John Misty‘s upcoming album I Love You, Honeybear.

A biting spin on Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A.,” “Bored In The USA” is a scathing takedown of the mindless materialism and overmedicated emptiness that has come to define the lives of far too many Americans.

But Father John Misty’s indictment doesn’t end with capitalism and pharmaceuticals. He also targets organized religion, deficit funded greed, our obsession with physical beauty, a broken political system and the failed promises of the American Dream. It’s a plainspoken but take-no-prisoners assault on the veneer many people hide behind as they run out the clock on their otherwise meaningless lives.

“Save me, White Jesus,” Father John Misty pleads. “They gave me a useless education / A subprime loan, Craftsman home / Keep my prescriptions filled / Now I can’t get off, but I can kind of deal / Oh, with being Bored in the USA.”

Father John Misty’s voice, and the song’s swing from melancholy minor chords to uplifting majors, recalls the wistful story songs of Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson. It’s a tragic tune, but also a painfully comical one, particularly when Father John Misty fades in the sound of a studio audience laughing callously at his tale of woe.

Brilliant and beautiful, but also brutal, “Bored In The USA” is a fitting anthem for a nation hobbled by its own shortcomings as it limps toward the end of 2014.

Father John Misty is otherwise known as Josh Tillman, the former drummer for Fleet Foxes. I Love You, Honeybear is due out Feb. 10 on Sub Pop Records. It’s his second full-length solo release since leaving Fleet Foxes in 2012.

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