Review: Father John Misty, Jeff Rosenstock and Drake

Senior Sam Gunn offers a fresh perspective on some of today’s best new music. This month, Sam listens in on Father John Misty, Jeff Rosenstock and Drake.

“I Love You, Honeybear” – Father John Misty

Joshua Tillman is a cynical sap. Tillman, the former drummer for Fleet Foxes, has spent three years under his moniker “Father John Misty,” writing and performing his own songs as a solo artist. While Tillman is a multi-instrumentalist, his true talent lies in his songwriting — and on his latest record, Tillman flexes his narrative muscles like never before.

“I Love You, Honeybear” is a starkly sincere observance of the modern world and what love means within the context of society. Tillman’s honest voice delivers concise nuggets of imagery such as “save me, President Jesus / I’m bored in the USA” and  “I wanna take you in the kitchen / Lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in.” The careful strings, trumpets and drums only serve to highlight the complex lyricism that weaves a tapestry of modern romance throughout the album.

The world, to Tillman, is in a post-God era; the earth is inhabited by “boring people” who only serve a mundane, useless purpose only to leave no impression on the soil beneath them or in the concrete on the towers above them. Despite this nihilistic existentialism, Tillman admits that loving another person can splash color onto the bleak canvass of the world. This album acknowledges all the objections modernity has to true romance and answers with a sonically fluffy, gooey, gushing flood of benedictions and heart.

Sam’s score: 8.8/10

Sam’s favorite tracks: “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins),” “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment,” “Bored in the USA”

“We Cool?” – Jeff Rosenstock

Jeff Rosenstock is still confused and still angry. One might assume that a 32-year-old individual would have outgrown all of his or her “pop-punk woes” from finding love to just finding a job. But this is not the case for Rosenstock. A veteran of the punk scene, Rosenstock has appeared in bands such as Bomb the Music Industry!, and his most recent album is the second in his solo career.

Rosenstock blasts out of the gate with dirty, catchy guitar riffs and endearingly off-kilter vocals that create a classic late-1990s pop-punk feel. That being said, the production is clean and articulate, a rarity for most records in the genre. The energy and adrenaline of a typical punk album is present, but it is glazed over with instrumentation that simulates a sense of scale that would otherwise be impossible with a two-dimensional vocal and guitar combination.

Overall the album explores some of the darker themes of life and the truth of existence, but does so in such an up-tempo and infectious way that the listener cannot help but empathize.

Sam’s score: 6.7/10

Sam’s favorite tracks: “Nausea,” “Hey Allison!,” “Polar Bear or Africa”

“If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” – Drake

Aubrey Graham — better known by his middle name, Drake — has come a long way from his days as an actor. Born in Toronto, Drake developed rapidly from a fresh face in the late-2000’s rap scene into an icon of incredible wealth, status and success in the music industry. After an explosive debut studio album that superseded a handful of mixtapes and singles, Drake never looked back.

Popularity perpetuates itself, and fame is a constant catalyst of polarization and dichotomy. Drake has experienced both sides of the public: the immense praise of the masses after his double platinum, “Take Care,” and the devolution into the laughingstock of the rap industry following his soul-bearing record, “Nothing Was the Same.” Regardless, Drake has continued to see surging success, and with a new, unexpected and lengthy mixtape, it is time to talk about the music.

Drake’s new project is sonically, lyrically and thematically weak. Over the course of 17 tracks, Drake fails to stray far from discussions concerning the difficulties of his wealth and affluence. This topic would normally be very appropriate had Drake not dwelled so heavily upon it in his past two studio albums. Drake, undoubtedly a fantastic wordsmith, fails to deliver phonetically and usually resorts to lazy, lackluster, boring flow. The production on many of the tracks fails to accentuate Drake, as the sharp interludes, cuts and dubs on the beat feel more gaudy than stylish. While the mixtape does have some redeeming tracks and solid verses, the majority of the project is uninspired, barren, disgruntled and plain.

Sam’s score: 3.2/10

Sam’s favorite tracks: “Legend,” “6PM In New York”