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Fear Fun

85 customer reviews

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Fear Fun
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Audio CD, May 1, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Father John Misty is the nom-de-plume of Josh Tillman, who has been releasing solo albums since 2003 and who left Seattle's Fleet Foxes after playing drums from 2008-2011. Fear Fun consists of such disparate elements as Waylon Jennings, Harry Nilsson, Arthur Russell, and Physical Graffiti, often within the same song. Tillman's voice has never been better, while the music maintains a dark, mysterious yet playful quality. Fear Fun is Father John Misty's Sub Pop debut and was produced by Phil Ek (Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes).
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 1, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,619 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 1, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Well-done Joshua Tillman. It takes a lot of guts to leave one of the most successful rock bands on the planet whose star is still heading northwards to cut out on your own and produce an album that is the culmination of much forethought over time. Tillman was of course the drummer in the Fleet Foxes until he departed this year to concentrate on this project under the moniker of Father John Misty (ok the idea is a bit Will Oldham derived). He had under his belt some seven albums not least the nice bluesy Americana of 2009s "Vacilando Territory Blues" that whilst not quite turning the earth off its axis contained some fine tunes from a fine musician. In terms of "Fear Fun" his latest offering more risks are taken and they largely pay off in music which sees Tillman employ a more expansive template.

Undoubtedly some will argue that the ghosts of Laurel Canyon haunt his production but damn it if its good enough for Dawes and Jonathan Wilson why can't old Joshua have a slice of the action? In decamping to Los Angeles to record this album Tillman also seems to cultivated a sense of humour which was somewhat lacking from previous records. He describes the album as "weird-ass songs about weird-ass experiences" which allude to such existential luminaries Sartre and Heidegger as inspiration. Whether such a bunch of angst ridden philosophers is a good template for essentially West coast rock music is a debate that this reviewer will leave to the cleverer purchasers on Amazon, suffice it say that that large parts of this record are upbeat and in the equation of the title fun triumphs over fear. The use of otherworldly substances clearly plays a part in all this and Tillman admits that on his journey from rainy Seattle to humid LA he was carrying "enough mushrooms to choke a horse.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Newton on January 1, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Josh Tillman. Interesting.
Guess I missed since I'm kind of a geezer.
Turned on to this album by my younger son.
Has elements of Dylan with The Band, Beatles, American roots, etc.
Somehow they all fit together.
Smart lyrics: Sometimes clever and absurd; sometimes heartfelt. Always draw you into the world the song is painting.
I play this thing over and over, like a kid.
Haven't tired of it.
Just keep liking it more.
Get it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rhys J on May 23, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I enjoyed this album a lot, more than I initially expected. I read about the album before hearing the music and I wasn't sure I was going to like it, especially after seeing his videos for "Nancy" and "Hollywood", which I found a tad disturbing. Eventually I decided to give it a chance after seeing his performance on Letterman, which I absolutely loved. To my surprise, what I found was from start to finish I didn't really find anything I didn't like. For one, I like Josh Tillman's voice better than Robin Pecknold's. The songs here are a little more straightforward, musically, than any of the Fleet Foxes' stuff. I guess it would fit comfortably in the folk-rock genre, but there's bits of Americana, country and blues thrown in as well, with less of the vocal harmonies and elaborate instrumentation that dominate Fleet Foxes' music.

"This Is Sally Hatchet" is a standout for me, with the cathartic opening guitar chords and the really wonderful vocal melody, which is full of pleasant surprises. "O I Long To Feel Your Arms Around Me" has a Fleet Foxes vibe to it, with the organs and vocal harmonies in the background. It reminds me a little of the ending bit of Fleet Foxes' "Mykonos." "Tee Pees 1-12" has a definite country feel with the fiddles, and "I'm Writing A Novel" sounds like some unplugged version of a rock song you've heard somewhere but can't quite remember when.

I think what makes this album interesting and special, though, is the lyrics. If you've been following Josh Tillman's Twitter account, you'll know that he has an extremely wonderful sense of humor and that he's pretty good with words. Some of the more interesting lyrics for me are in songs like "I'm Writing A Novel," "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" and "Only Son of the Ladiesman."

This man knows what he's doing.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Constant Listener on July 21, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Dear Music Appreciators,

"I ran down the road / pants down to my knees / screaming please come help me that Canadian shaman gave a little too much to me and I'm writing a novel / because it's never been done before..."

These lyrics, (from "I'm Writing A Novel") might contain some keys to the heart of Father John Misty's Hollywood-soaked Sub Pop debut FEAR FUN. Drugged out high jinx, paranoia, humor, and the irony of schlepping to a sun-soaked southern setting where your artistic ambition and individuality make you just like everybody else.

Remember when the Brady Bunch went to Hawaii and got themselves into all kinds of shenanigans and tom-foolery? Perhaps this record is a little like "Fleet Foxes Go To Hollywood" but in this episode drummer J. Tillman gets swallowed by the Hollywood whale and never makes it back to Seattle, disappears into drugs, changes his name to Father John Misty, and puts out a record in a puff of paranoid pot smoke.

And just like Hollywood, there's something for everyone to be found on FEAR FUN. A little bit country and a little bit rock and roll - not to mention pop, easy-listening, parody, psychedelia, and a heavy dose of singer-songwriter on acid. The songs sometimes have a carnival-like careening feeling as they spin like a menagerie of animals on a merry-go-round - and there's J. Tillman as Father John Misty, hopping from horse to fish to cat like he just has to ride them all before the music stops.


Constant Listener
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