Father John Misty’s “I Love You, Honeybear” Music Video: Modern, Romantic Tragicomedy

Father John Misty is releasing his newest album, Pure Comedy, on April 7th. His songwriting and conceptualizing prowess is one of the strongest in the music industry right now, at least in my opinion. Aside from his work with Fleet Foxes and his solo works, he also contributed to two recent albums of two of the world’s biggest pop music artists, with his songwriting featured in Beyonce’s Lemonade and Lady Gaga’s Joanne. In those works, he is a mouthpiece in delivering the minds of those pop artists; in Fleet Foxes, he serves to keep the rhythm in the Seattle-based indie folk band; but by himself, he explores the world with his own eye and delivers it a unique sound with amazing, hip-gyrating performances.

One of my favorite works for him is his music video for “I Love You, Honeybear”. The song itself tells about Father John Misty’s relationship with his partner where they share a special kind of bond among the bad things happening in the world.

The music video itself tells the story of two EMTs (Brett Gelman, Susan Traylor) having fun when they received a call to save a sleeping couple (Josh and Emma Tillman, a.k.a. Father John Misty and his wife Emma) exposed to a gas leak. Here is the music video for the song:

The thing I love about this video is how it resembles a clash between the tragic and the comic. In this story, we see two couples tangled in a situation – whether it’s critical or not is judged by each of the couples themselves. The dying couple faces their tragic separation in this story and is faced with a life way different than what they’re living before. The EMTs tried to save their lives, but it’s what the EMTs do for a living – this is a common thing for them. This video shows a situation through two wildly different perspectives. (See what I did there?)

These different perspectives are justified by the things they do outside of their interaction – the EMTs work night shifts to fulfill their needs, while the dying couple sleeps soundly by night. They sleep in their big home, while the EMTs cozy up in their small apartment.

The important thing in this video is how a matter of life and death to one person could mean differently to another. The song itself often mentions about Father John Misty and his partner’s disdain for the outside world, and how they will prevail nevertheless (Everything is doomed / And nothing will be spared / But I love you, honeybear). This mirrors the EMTs’ attitude upon death – they constantly live with lives at the stake, and they constantly face the dark side of the world. However, it’s their job to face these sorts of situations and it should not affect their livelihood. This love-prevails-amongst-all-doom plotline reflects the song’s lyrics a lot.

This video really reflects Father John Misty’s own attitude to romance in the song and is produced perfectly with a tragic storyline, stunning performances, and great production value. It reminds me that love is something certain among the random uncertainties of the world.

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