Father John Misty – “Mr. Tillman” Video

As you are no doubt aware by now, we are officially in the midst of Misty Season once again. It began back in February with a tease, a single called “Mr. Tillman” delivered without an album announcement. Last week brought us official word of Josh Tillman’s fourth FJM outing God’s Favorite Customer arriving this June, just 14 months after one of the best albums of 2017, Pure Comedy. The news was followed by two new songs, “Just Dumb Enough To Try” and “Disappointing Diamonds Are The Rarest Of Them All”; the former was one of our favorite songs of last week.

But there was something missing. There are quite a handful of memorable videos littered throughout the Misty canon. This is the man who brought us Aubrey Plaza’s bleak misadventures for “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings,” who brought us himself hooking up with … himself in “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment,” who brought us Macaulay Culkin as Kurt Cobain getting crucified by Josh Tillman as Captain Hook/Ronald McDonald in “Total Entertainment Forever.” So, it just felt incomplete that we didn’t yet have a distinctive clip for any of these new God’s Favorite Customer songs.

Well, that changes today with the arrival of an official video for “Mr. Tillman.” (When the single first came out, it was accompanied by a visualizer goof.) Co-directed by Jeff Desom and Carlos Lopez Estrada, it’s another doozy, involving multiple Josh Tillmans, some creepy zoom-out tricks as if turning real people into The Sims, and what would appear to be a few layers of meaning with regards to the song and album it represents.

In the song “Mr. Tillman,” you get a seemingly straightforward tale of FJM in listless shaman mode causing a scene at a hotel. (References to it were originally floating around as “Mr. Tillman, Please Exit The Lobby.”) But on that track, it really sounds like you’re getting a breakdown story, as the hotel staff try to convince Mr. Tillman that no, those are just other clientele, not people filming a movie. The video for “Mr. Tillman” starts as if it’ll depict the lyrics somewhat directly, a voice asking “Mr. Tillman, are you ready?” before a clapperboard denotes the beginning of a take.

There’s an added, even darker undercurrent going on here, too. Tillman has alluded to being “kind of on the straits” during the period of time in which he wrote the songs for God’s Favorite Customer, a period he partially spent living in a hotel. The video for “Mr. Tillman” is a loopy, heady thing that depicts unsettling cycles, with our hero FJM trapped in a sort of disassociation feedback loop. To go into more detail would be to give it away, so you should just go ahead and check it out for yourself below.

God’s Favorite Customer is out 6/1 on Sub Pop/Bella Union.