When the changing tide of politics awoke a nation that hadn’t been paying much attention up until now, the masses who were sure Hillary would take the fight were shocked to find out Trump would be running our country for (at least) the next four years.
Father John Misty, the ex-drummer of Fleet Foxes, made a warm, wonderful record called I Love You, Honeybear before he turned to politics on Pure Comedy. Likewise, Alex Turner, lead singer of Arctic Monkeys, made rock music with album titles like Humbug before creating his depressive, lounge-piano record Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino.
Donald Trump becoming President erupted in people (especially straight white males like Father John Misty and Alex Turner), who had never had America treat them with any malice or prejudice bursting from their protective cocoon to see how their lives, too, could be f*cked up.
On both records, the singer tackles what seems like the deepest moment of their respective despairs. Father John Misty almost ruins his marriage in a depressive episode living in a hotel, separated from his wife, on God’s Favorite Customer, and Alex Turner’s new Arctic Monkeys record imagines a whole new world where he seems to play the bluesy, disillusioned lounge singer to an audience of whoever happens to walk into the room.
Pure Comedy bordered on pretentious, Tranquility Base is downright sad for sad’s sake, and God’s Favorite Customer details a man down the rabbit hole, begging on his knees for salvation. Punk was thought to thrive once more when Trump took office, and yet instead we got a Neo Soul revival, the rise of harsh trap rap, and the disillusioned, very sad, indie rocker.
There’s a glimmer of hope found in Father John Misty’s record, whereas Alex Turner whimpers until he melts into his piano bench, when he gets to the final track “We’re Only People (And There’s Not Much We Can Do About That),” a quintessential Father John Misty track name.
Where despair and politics cover both Pure Comedy and God’s Favorite Customer is distinct ways, the latter, and latest, release is more of a reprise and reflection of the previous.
“Oh, friends, all my friends/Oh, I hope you’re somewhere smiling/Just know I think about you more kindly than you and I have ever been/And I’ll see you the next time around the bend,” Misty says on the last track, “We’re Only People.” It’s par for the course when it comes to Father John Misty musically and stylistically, but the glimmer of hope towards the end is something that hasn’t existed for him since 2015—since before the election.
Nearing the end of Trump’s presidency, the hope of replacement and promising primaries might show these men clawing their wait back up from the rabbit hole, but until then, we seem to be stuck with the depressive wreck at the lounge piano, playing songs for themselves, coping with their demons and disappointments.
What do you think? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.