• 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. Apr 7, 2017
    10
    I love this album. It is nearly as punchy as his previous work, but that seems alright given the meaning of the lyrics and the times we find ourselves in these days.
  2. Apr 29, 2017
    9
    When it comes to a statement about all the craziness that is going on, this album is the best example of that. Its done with somber guitar and piano ballads that spark light in darkness. Father John Misty has made a great album for 2017 that we can all listen to while taking deep breaths and have a think on what we are doing here and how we can help.
    Best Songs: Listen to the whole album
  3. May 2, 2017
    10
    This offering seems to be dividing some existing fans for some reason. I don`t know why but some albums just do. To me, it seems like a perfect progression from the last album. Overall, it is less about love I`d say and more observational of mankind. It sounded fantastic to me upon first listen, but after a few plays it really shines.
    I think the production is absolutely top notch (once
    This offering seems to be dividing some existing fans for some reason. I don`t know why but some albums just do. To me, it seems like a perfect progression from the last album. Overall, it is less about love I`d say and more observational of mankind. It sounded fantastic to me upon first listen, but after a few plays it really shines.
    I think the production is absolutely top notch (once again) and therefore benefits being played on decent hi-fi and demands to be given full attention.
    For me, it`s his best yet and I shall continue to spread the word emphatically!
    I`ve given it 10/10 which I never do but the guy who wrote the glowing review and then hit 0/10 needs balancing out (and I`m not sure that it isn`t a full ten anyway :)
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  4. Apr 10, 2017
    10
    Definitely a grow-on-you kind of album. The more I listen to it the more its eccentricities move from seeming off-putting to incredibly honest and beautiful. It's nice to hear him bare his soul so unabashedly, even if his opinions don't always match up with mine.
  5. Apr 17, 2017
    10
    This album is not for everyone. That said, I enjoy this album to such a high extent. FJM proves himsef on a whole new level of musicianship on this record with the instrumentals, themes, and vocal performances.
  6. Aug 2, 2017
    10
    I absolutely love this album: the composition, the depth of his (as usual) irony-infused lyrics that are highly relevant in today's political and cultural climate. It was difficult - if not impossible - to deliver an album even better than the last two, but he did it.
  7. Apr 25, 2018
    9
    Very different from Honeybear, but almost equally as great. There are two or three tracks that it could have done without, but overall I loved this album. His expressions of alienation from the rest of the human race really resonate with me. I can't think of a thing he said on this album that I didn't agree with
  8. Apr 7, 2017
    7
    Father John Misty is my favorite artist working today. After listening to the early singles I really felt that the themes and release date couldn't be better matched for the malaise of this time.

    Three songs here are really tight and well constructed: "Ballad of A Dying Man", " Total Entertainment Forever", & "A Bigger Paper Bag". Like Cohen's best work, you're never sure exactly
    Father John Misty is my favorite artist working today. After listening to the early singles I really felt that the themes and release date couldn't be better matched for the malaise of this time.

    Three songs here are really tight and well constructed: "Ballad of A Dying Man", " Total Entertainment Forever", & "A Bigger Paper Bag". Like Cohen's best work, you're never sure exactly where he'll go with his lyrical content and it adds a sense of intrigue to every line.

    It's natural for him to start to disdain the "Where does Father John Misty end and Josh Tillman begin?" line of questioning, and I think that with some of the more stripped down/confessional songs we're starting to see the transformation. Listeners who are looking for the zaniness of Fear Fun won't find it here except in glimpses.

    We love Tillman for his bravado, wit, and intelligence. He won't lose that in his songwriting, but I feel that the media attention that he receives for his antics will peak with the release of this album. After releasing Honeybear the arc of his career had unlimited potential. This was his moment to strengthen the bond with his listeners, to abet the hopelessness of our society. Did he miss the mark?
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  9. Apr 10, 2017
    8
    This album is really a reflection of the times we are living in right now and how we got to this point. From the start of the title track "Pure Comedy", You are immediately thrown into the world as Father John Misty views it. He talks about giant egos, politics, sexism, technology and the eventual date with death. Each song has a wide variety of meanings and should never be taken at faceThis album is really a reflection of the times we are living in right now and how we got to this point. From the start of the title track "Pure Comedy", You are immediately thrown into the world as Father John Misty views it. He talks about giant egos, politics, sexism, technology and the eventual date with death. Each song has a wide variety of meanings and should never be taken at face value.

    I honestly don't see how anyone can give this a negative review. From the amazing vocals, deep lyrics and hypnotic sounds, It's a masterpiece from start to finish. He very well could have earned a Grammy nomination for this.
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  10. Apr 10, 2017
    8
    Father John Misty has made a grandiose statement for his latest album. Musically the album is beautiful - the arrangements are stunning and Tillman's voice is in top form. His heart and soul comes through in full force. However, what is lacking for me is the sense of fun that was present on "Fear Fun" and "I Love You, Honeybear". This is a lyrically heavy album and there's not much thereFather John Misty has made a grandiose statement for his latest album. Musically the album is beautiful - the arrangements are stunning and Tillman's voice is in top form. His heart and soul comes through in full force. However, what is lacking for me is the sense of fun that was present on "Fear Fun" and "I Love You, Honeybear". This is a lyrically heavy album and there's not much there that makes you smile, as brilliant as it is. Like FJM, I was very depressed by the outcome of the election (and still am sometimes) so it's hard to get your head around everything here without taking a break to contemplate the state of the world. His last two albums were more escapist and fun. However, that should not take away from the enjoyment of listening to it. It's a tough one to take in lyrically, but the gorgeous melodies more than make it easy on the ears. He is an artist whose stature will only grow in the years to come, and this is likely the album that gets everyone listening. Expand
  11. Apr 8, 2017
    10
    A gorgeous triumph of modern music, existentialism, and humanity. Tillman encourages you to confront the challenges of human existence, and if you take the leap of faith, you may find a happy ending after all. A huge step forward in the FJM catalogue.

    Highlights include the title track, "Ballad of the Dying Man", "When the God of Love Returns", "The Memo", the final two tracks in
    A gorgeous triumph of modern music, existentialism, and humanity. Tillman encourages you to confront the challenges of human existence, and if you take the leap of faith, you may find a happy ending after all. A huge step forward in the FJM catalogue.

    Highlights include the title track, "Ballad of the Dying Man", "When the God of Love Returns", "The Memo", the final two tracks in sequence, and the meta self-analyzing/eviscerating examination of tillman's own self in the 13 minute epic "Leaving LA".
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  12. Apr 9, 2017
    7
    Lyrically I like the album and much of it's subject matter. Musically it lacks the diversity of Fear Fun and even Honey Bear. I don't understand all the negative reviews and it's not as good as many of the critics claim it is....solid 7 IMO.
  13. Apr 7, 2017
    10
    The record starts topically, with these topical tunes, and you realise if this is just going to be Josh Tillman wagging his finger at everyone, it's going to horrible.

    Then you get to Leaving LA, A Bigger Paper Bag and Smoochie, and you realize that there is a sincere human at the heart of this record. So the first image is Earth, from space, and you have this detached perspective on
    The record starts topically, with these topical tunes, and you realise if this is just going to be Josh Tillman wagging his finger at everyone, it's going to horrible.

    Then you get to Leaving LA, A Bigger Paper Bag and Smoochie, and you realize that there is a sincere human at the heart of this record.

    So the first image is Earth, from space, and you have this detached perspective on humans as a thing, and as the record progresses you start getting closer and closer and closer to Earth. By the end of the record you're looking up at the stars and you no longer have any perspective on what an abstract place it is.

    The fact that it's been said before doesn't make it any less compelling and timely.

    Sublime, personal and perfect, this is by far and away the album of the year so far.
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  14. Apr 7, 2017
    10
    This is purely brilliant. Musically it is often dense and beautiful, but never feels cluttered. The lyrics however are put front and centre, and deservedly so, given how witty and clever, yet undeniably saddening, they are. Utterly captivating through out, Father John himself has a wonderful voice, which often hypnotically loops through the songs he writes, making the lyrics crystal clear.This is purely brilliant. Musically it is often dense and beautiful, but never feels cluttered. The lyrics however are put front and centre, and deservedly so, given how witty and clever, yet undeniably saddening, they are. Utterly captivating through out, Father John himself has a wonderful voice, which often hypnotically loops through the songs he writes, making the lyrics crystal clear. A phenomenal success. Expand
  15. Apr 19, 2017
    9
    This album only really works as a whole, which is difficult because its 70 minutes long or something.
    But as a journey from the macro to the micro it is sucessful. I don't think the songs work nearly as well individually as the songs from I love you, Honeybear did. and I don't think Josh Tillman is as accurate in talking about the human condition as he is at talking about love. Having
    This album only really works as a whole, which is difficult because its 70 minutes long or something.
    But as a journey from the macro to the micro it is sucessful. I don't think the songs work nearly as well individually as the songs from I love you, Honeybear did. and I don't think Josh Tillman is as accurate in talking about the human condition as he is at talking about love. Having said that, he has produced an album of constantly good songs, and occasionally moving lyrics. 'we're earths most soulful predator' is a stand out. and the Instrumental on 'Growing old on magic mountain' is something special. and to be honest, the whole album comes to rest on the final song. Which is a technique often employed in songs by Father John Misty, The final line of a song often puts the whole thing into context by using juxtaposition. On this album it is the same only larger in scope. 'In twenty years or so' comes to shine a light on the rest of the album in a tender and hopeful way which is something I think many review's seem to over look. I would describe this album as hopeful overall, and its something we are desperately in need of at the moment. Hopeful, thoughtful music.
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  16. Apr 7, 2017
    10
    Pure Comedy is the kind of album that makes you feel like a piece of **** for being a human being, but at the end of listening you're glad you're not anything else.
  17. Apr 7, 2017
    10
    This is going to be a divisive record, but I predict history will prove to be very kind to an album that reveals itself in waves. Musically, "Pure Comedy" isn't as diverse as the preceding albums. But the production and arrangements are spectacular. I could not help but make comparisons to Sgt. Pepper's. Just like the lyrics, there are plenty of layers beyond the surface.

    Lyrically,
    This is going to be a divisive record, but I predict history will prove to be very kind to an album that reveals itself in waves. Musically, "Pure Comedy" isn't as diverse as the preceding albums. But the production and arrangements are spectacular. I could not help but make comparisons to Sgt. Pepper's. Just like the lyrics, there are plenty of layers beyond the surface.

    Lyrically, this album will be a challenge for some. Some of the lyrics can come across as pretentious, but I really feel that the overarching theme of the album is that we (as individuals and collectively as a species) are not nearly as big a deal as we think we are. History has a way of making the anxieties of today, nothing more than a footnote or a fading anecdote. That reality isn't lost on Josh, and he knows those same rules apply to him even as a moderately popular indie folk rock star. A song like "Ballad of the Dying Man" might seem like a criticism of others, but it is just as much a criticism of himself. And self righteous fans like myself that feel like we have to defend him from Taylor Swift or Kanye fans. As if it matters.

    But I don't think you are wrong for not seeing it or feeling the vibe. If the sweetness behind the sarcasm of FJM has never really reached you in previous releases, I don't think it will necessarily break through on this album. In fact, it is less likely to.

    I have a hard time not saying this is his masterpiece. Because I also felt the same way about Honeybear. And Fear Fun. The truth is, I just dig Josh Tillman's take on the world. And absolutely adore his chosen method of delivery of that message.
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  18. Apr 7, 2017
    10
    Fantastic, thoughtful, soul-bearing music the kind of which is in short supply. Some of these songs are amongst the best written so far this decade, and his voice is simply amazing.
  19. Apr 7, 2017
    10
    One of the best album of the year. Great lyrics.. Great melodies.. great vocal .......................................................................
  20. Apr 7, 2017
    10
    Lyrically and musically, this album is gorgeous - and wholly unique to anything else out there. Songwriting is clever, esoteric, and suddenly affecting. Melodies are subtle, but lush. On its whole, it will bring Father John Misty to another level entirely.
  21. Jun 29, 2017
    8
    Cleverly ironic and cynical, yet hard-hitting, serious and honest lyrics. This album manages to talk about relevant issues within our society without being pretentious. The vocals and the instrumentation are both beautiful, though at times a bit lacking edge or variety. Pure Comedy is a brilliantly written, beautifully performed and an all around pleasant listen while, being brutallyCleverly ironic and cynical, yet hard-hitting, serious and honest lyrics. This album manages to talk about relevant issues within our society without being pretentious. The vocals and the instrumentation are both beautiful, though at times a bit lacking edge or variety. Pure Comedy is a brilliantly written, beautifully performed and an all around pleasant listen while, being brutally honest and at times quite funny. It's a fantastic album. Expand
  22. May 14, 2017
    8
    There’s a surprising level of motivic mastery within these deceptively basic harmonic structures, and it combines with Tillman’s oozing passion to create a genre-defining album nothing short of inspirational. My Score: 150/180 (Great) = 8.3/10
  23. Jul 21, 2017
    9
    Fantastic album. Joshua is a genius artist. I loved this so much.

    The lyrics and the structure of each song is perfect. Is not so cohesive as I thought it was going to be, but It's completly wonderful
  24. Jun 27, 2017
    7
    I really like the lyrics on this album but melodically it's not very diverse. I hate, however, the "preachy" feelings that I get from Pure Comedy, he's acting like he's the new Messiah trying to save us all from capitalism and tumblr blogs for **** sake.
  25. May 14, 2018
    8
    Pure Comedy is one of the most attention-grabbing, distinctive, interesting albums of 2017. The lyrics are harsh, utterly entertaining, and thought-provoking. Musically, PC is usually simple, but almost always extremely effective and beautiful. The music, lyrics, and vocals work very, very well on PC. "Total," "Ballad," "Two," and the final song have great, sickingly honest lyrics thatPure Comedy is one of the most attention-grabbing, distinctive, interesting albums of 2017. The lyrics are harsh, utterly entertaining, and thought-provoking. Musically, PC is usually simple, but almost always extremely effective and beautiful. The music, lyrics, and vocals work very, very well on PC. "Total," "Ballad," "Two," and the final song have great, sickingly honest lyrics that don't get old. That's another great thing about Pure Comedy; it feels timeless. I find myself coming back to PC more often than most 2017 albums, and it never fails to entertain me. Unlike some people, I do not think that everything FJM touches turns to gold, but most of it shines pretty bright, musically if not lyrically. PC is a wildly entertaining, intelligent album that's extremely well produced and (mostly) well written. Expand
  26. Jan 9, 2018
    7
    Father John Misty provides witty, comedic, thought provoking and amazing lyricism in each and every track.
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]