Never one to be out-trolled, dark prince of indie rock Father John Misty just released his “reinterpretation of the classic Ryan Adams album 1989.”
For those who have been living under a rock, without access to Facebook’s Trending Topics, Ryan Adams released a track-for-track cover of Taylor Swift’s chart-topping 1989 LP on Spotify today. No one’s quite sure what to make of it—it’s a rather sincere effort from one of rock’s most unpredictable personalities, inspired in part by Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska—but on first listen, it’s surprisingly good.
What makes Father John Misty’s meta-cover so great is not only its overbearing style—in the vein of Velvet Underground’s iconic debut—but how he subtly divorces Swift from the equation. You can almost hear all of the fangirls firing up their Tumblrs to call him out on his obvious typo.
This is the sort of layered commentary at which Father John Misty excels. To preview his new album, I Love You, Honeybear, he launched a Spotify parody called SAP, a “new signal-to-audio process by which albums are ‘sapped’ of their performances, original vocal, atmosphere and other distracting affectations so the consumer can decide quickly and efficiently whether they like a musical composition, based strictly on its formal attributes, enough to spend money on it.”
“We’ve gotten to the point where we only talk about the value of music monetarily,” Josh Tillman, the songwriter behind Father John Misty, told the Kernel at the time. It’s made everything a cliché: The artists have turned into these cranky, luddite, money-grubbing elitists, and the consumers are the dim-witted, mouth-breathing opportunists. The whole thing is just ripe for satire.”
More recently, Father John Misty has been giving a master course in Instagram trolling that will make you think twice about your next Crema-filtered post.
Screengrab via Father John Misty