• Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Apr 7, 2017
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 253 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 253
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  1. Feb 7, 2018
    6
    I'll start with the positives. "Pure Comedy" is a definite grower. If you don't like it the first time, second time or even the 5th time, don't worry, if you liked his first 2 albums, you will eventually get this one, appreciate its lyrical cleverness and how the instrumentation suits the overall theme of the album. On the negative side, it's an extremely repetitive album. 75 minutes or soI'll start with the positives. "Pure Comedy" is a definite grower. If you don't like it the first time, second time or even the 5th time, don't worry, if you liked his first 2 albums, you will eventually get this one, appreciate its lyrical cleverness and how the instrumentation suits the overall theme of the album. On the negative side, it's an extremely repetitive album. 75 minutes or so of what essentially sounds like the same two or 3 songs over and over. The repetition covers lyrical theme (there only seems to be one - how human life is one big mindless joke that we're all doomed to be consumed by, except for the oh so clever Father John Misty) and the music. It's like lounge music for atheist/darwinists, a genre I don't find particularly enticing. I loved the mans first 2 albums but I can only go as far as saying I like this but probably won't revisit that often. A couple of songs in this vein would have fitted in well on his back catalog amongst the druggy folk social commentary stuff but an hour and a quarter of the stuff is too much of an ask. Hopefully next time out he'll take some better drugs and bring out something a bit more enjoyable and a bit less elevator. Expand
  2. Apr 11, 2017
    6
    This record is way too long and way too preachy, though it does have its clever moments. Overall it's okay, but could stand being shorter and sweeter.
  3. Apr 7, 2017
    4
    Everyone who is heralding this as the best album of the year is probably too young to remember Dan Fogelberg, a man who embodied 70's and 80's camp, with his simple piano licks and suave, lady-wooing tenor. Music like this is usually deeply embraced at first, then seen down the road as a lame phase you went through. It's missing instrumental and lyrical risks. When many of you agree withEveryone who is heralding this as the best album of the year is probably too young to remember Dan Fogelberg, a man who embodied 70's and 80's camp, with his simple piano licks and suave, lady-wooing tenor. Music like this is usually deeply embraced at first, then seen down the road as a lame phase you went through. It's missing instrumental and lyrical risks. When many of you agree with me later in life, I won't hold it against you. I used to listen to Bryan Adams. Expand
  4. Apr 13, 2017
    5
    I counted exactly 3 good songs, and given that the album is around 75 minutes long that simply cannot mean anything good. It's a considerably less diverse and rewarding work that Honeybear and the lyrics, of course, can be pretty cringe-inducing sometimes (I'd avoid paying attention to them in the first place). Tillman is not talented either as a piano player or as a composer and he oftenI counted exactly 3 good songs, and given that the album is around 75 minutes long that simply cannot mean anything good. It's a considerably less diverse and rewarding work that Honeybear and the lyrics, of course, can be pretty cringe-inducing sometimes (I'd avoid paying attention to them in the first place). Tillman is not talented either as a piano player or as a composer and he often relies on repetitive and uninteresting song structures (obvious example: the anemic ultra-long "Leaving LA", in which he sings the same melody a hundred times or so). It isn't very helpful either that every song has this "sophisticated" '70s arena pop/rock production sound that makes it all appear quite corny instrumentally speaking.

    Unlike most haters of this guy will tell you, giving this record a spin won't kill you. If anything it'll just waste your time. He's not the worst thing to have happened to music but just another average white singer/songwriter that for some bizarre reason got excessively hyped. Ignore. And if you see a guy calling this album an "intellectually profound experience" ignore him too.
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Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Apr 28, 2017
    40
    One of the most frustrating releases of recent times. Tracks meander insipidly, crushed by the weight of a solipsistic “message” and the real moments of quality only serve as a reminder of what might have been.
  2. Apr 18, 2017
    60
    To be sure, his willingness to descend into darkness, both regarding the world and within himself, is a large part of the man's appeal, but here he seems to have misunderstood, or simply ignored, what makes him truly great.
  3. Magnet
    Apr 14, 2017
    70
    Tillman wisely scales back the orchestration and flourishes to their bare minimum in order to put his voice and lyrics at the forefront. [No. 141, p.54]