Father John Misty has unveiled a new song tailored to the climate of paranoia and despair currently afflicting the United States (and a fair chunk of the world) as an exceedingly bleak year inches to a close.
The starkly beautiful ‘Holy Hell’ features only Tillman’s vocals and spare piano accompaniment, sonically resembling Neil Young at his best and loneliest.
The quietly stunned and disillusioned message of the tune is effectively conveyed in its title alone, but it’s really hammered home in the minimal but charged lyrics. “The economy just don’t explain this / This unfathomable, nameless rift / Who knows if it even exists / It’s just some highly effective rhetoric / Used by perverts who get off on it,” Tillman caustically, mournfully sings in the second verse.
The troubled artist digs deep for some much needed positivity at the end of the terse number, singing, “The world won’t end unless we want it to / There’s no one in control and it’s our life to choose.”
Leni Riefenstahl aside, it’s the artists who normally land on the right side of history, and it’s refreshing to see so many outspoken ones in music today, giving voice to prevailing feelings and providing solace in sound. It will be interesting to see what Father John Misty and countless others have in store in the years ahead.