These are some dark times we find ourselves in, right? The European Union is crumbling, a reality TV star turned proto-fascist has scored the top job in the land, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un are catching up in the nuclear arms race and The Voice US is now up to 11 seasons.
And yet through all that haze, one artist has emerged, defiant. Over the last few months, Father John Misty has proven unafraid to combat all that horror head on, with the post-ironic, ivory-tinklin’ muso coming out in full force against the horrors of the alt-right and music-based reality television programming.
Today, he’s churned up all that social media based ire and crafted it into a song — the appropriately titled Holy Hell. Running for just under three minutes, the brisk little ditty is a powerful reminder of Misty’s many skills: it’s darkly humorous, fragile and tender, and, perhaps most pertinently, a very real plea for compassion.
After all, despite the song’s distinctly bleak beginning — there aren’t many other artists who would be willing to write a line like “Never asked for a paradise/But 70 years would be nice” — the song ultimately speaks of great optimism and hope. Lines like “the impossible dream of mankind” are as moving as they are carefully honed, and the song’s final verse is something to behold.
You gotta hand it to Johnny: given the unrelenting grottiness of this year, it takes a true artist to carve something so optimistic out of the looming threat of nuclear war. Good on him.
Whether the song is the first hint of a new album or a one-off designed to light up some very dark corners, either way, we’re glad to have it.
Here it is in full:
Listen: Father John Misty – ‘Holy Hell’