Catch Father John Misty’s postmodern wackiness on “Letterman”

Jared Hemming

This week, Father John Misty returned to “The Late Show with David Letterman” to perform “Bored in the USA,” the new single off of next year’s “I Love You, Honeybear.”

 

18-piece chamber orchestra in tow, J. Tillman brought back his Father John Misty project to “Letterman,” this time trading his usual frontman antics for a more reflective, somber performance, complete with a player piano.

 

father-john-misty-letterman.png

via Consequence of Sound

 

That’s right: about a minute into the performance, the soft chords Tillman taps on the keys for the plaintive ballad continue even after Tillman’s hands leave the piano as he grabs the microphone and leaves his seat at the instrument.

As the phantom piano player goes on, Tillman gestures to the sweeping orchestra, who almost over-glorify Tillman’s screams to “save me, white Jesus!” with weighty, emotional progressions.

 

Tillman’s wry loftiness (the same irreverence he brought to this meta-interview with us last year) reaches its apex during the song’s bridge, in which Tillman’s references to useless American educations and sub-prime loans are punctuating with hearty guffaws from a laugh track.

 

Throughout the performance, it is as if Tillman uses the Father John Misty moniker to embody a real-earning parody of what a rockstar can be. With “Bored in the USA,” Tillman lets on that “I Love You, Honeybear” will follow his subversive approach to rock stardom with Father John Misty.