Song of the Week: "Funny Girl"


Father John Misty is a walking trove of ironies and dichotomies. Born and raised in a devout religious household, he came to hate "religion." Yet he takes the honorific "Father." He has been a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer for 20 years, yet has a healthy disdain for the industry in which he works. He has played and toured mostly with lesser-known artists, but has also contributed to albums by megastars like Beyonce and Lady Gaga. And he is known for his doom and gloom (or at least dour and cynical) songwriting, yet maintains a personal optimism. Ultimately, Father John Misty is a brilliant, often under-the-radar, musical personage who really should be better known than he is.

And with his new single "Funny Girl," from his forthcoming SubPop album Chloë and the Next 20th Century, he has tapped into the "retro is in" zeitgeist -- though, as usual, not in the way everyone else is doing. No 1960s/1970s retro for him; he has gone all the way back to the 1940s with this fabulous tribute to Hollywood soundtracks. And he marries it to a bizarre video featuring Wizard of Oz cinematography (not surprisingly the moody, broody parts) juxtaposed with a jellyfish floating around the scenes. Not what one would expect for a song called "Funny Girl." But then, Father John Misty rarely gives us what we expect -- but always gives us something remarkable.

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