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I Love You, Honeybear is the second studio album by American folk musician Josh Tillman under his pseudonym Father John Misty. It was released on February 9, 2015, in the UK and Europe by Bella Union, and in the rest of the world on February 10, 2015, by Sub Pop. Produced by both Tillman and Jonathan Wilson, this is Tillman's second studio album since his departure from Fleet Foxes. The album was also mixed by Phil Ek, and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound. According to Tillman, the release is a concept album. I Love You, Honeybear received widespread acclaim from critics, and was ranked as one of the best albums of 2015 by numerous publications.

I Love You, Honeybear
I Love You, Honeybear.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 9, 2015 (2015-02-09)
Father John Misty chronology
The History of Caves
I Love You, Honeybear
Pure Comedy
Singles from I Love You, Honeybear
  1. "Bored in the USA"
    Released: November 4, 2014
  2. "Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)"
    Released: December 9, 2014




The album was produced by Jonathan Wilson and was mixed by Phil Ek and mastered at Sterling Sound.[2]


Josh Tillman described I Love You, Honeybear as a concept album about himself. The album deals with Tillman's personal life, including him "engaging in all manner of regrettable behavior," as well as his relationship with his wife Emma.[3] Because of the album's raw, personal nature, Tillman worried about playing the songs live and initially had a hard time playing those songs to people close to him.[4]

Tillman called the song "Bored in the USA" a "sarcastic ballad."[5] Pitchfork described the song as mocking the "entire franchise of privileged white men making their spiritual void the dark center of the universe."[6] Tillman added a laugh track to the song as a way of "neutralizing uncomfortable ideas."[5]

The song "Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)" was about Tillman and his wife Emma exploring Los Angeles when they first met. "True Affection", an electronic song, dealt with isolation and Tillman's frustration with "trying to woo someone with text message and email and trying to make a connection that way." "Holy Shit" was written on the day Tillman and his wife were married. "Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow" is divided into two parts. The first part, a country blues song, deals with Tillman "turning down aggressive women" at the Crow, a bar in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. The second part, a jazz dirge, deals with men harassing Tillman's wife at the Crow while Tillman is on tour. "I Went to the Store One Day", the last song on the album, chronicles Tillman's and his wife's relation from the day they met in a store to their deaths.[4]


On November 3, 2014, Tillman performed the track "Bored in the USA" on Late Show with David Letterman.[7] The next day, the release date for I Love You, Honeybear was announced.[2] On December 8, 2014, a music video for the song "Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)" was released.[8] Concerning this music video, Tillman said: "I was going to rent a wedding chapel, get a dozen kittens and stage a kitten wedding, over which I would preside and intercut with performance footage of me lip-syncing the song".[9] As the original idea wasn't realisable, Tillman said about the final version: "I don't care all that much if you like the music video or not. The label isn't crazy about it. Management isn't crazy about it. […] I made it on an iPad on my wedding anniversary with the one I love."[9]

On January 27, 2015, Tillman launched a fake music streaming service called Streamline Audio Protocol where he uploaded a lo-fi version of I Love You, Honeybear for streaming. The version includes the entire album without vocals and other instruments featured in the actual release of the album. Tillman described this service as something where "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."[10]

Soon after the release of the Sub Pop deluxe LP version on February 10, 2015, fans and label recognized that the pressing was damaged due to packaging issues which finally caused a warp defect. On February 11, 2015, the label released an official statement, confirming that the first pressing of the deluxe version will no longer be available and that they will press a new version. The statement reads as follows: "[W]e are sorry that many of these fancy, colored-vinyl, deluxe versions of Father John Misty's new album, I Love You, Honeybear are, it appears, warped! In our efforts to replicate the "wow factor" of such legendary album packages as the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers zipper cover by Andy Warhol, we wound up accidentally replicating the "defect factor" of the same. In short, the extra, bulging thickness of the pop-up art in the Father John Misty jacket creates a lump that, when the LPs are sealed and packed, pushes into the LPs, causing the vinyl to warp and making that handsome, painstakingly and expensively produced jacket an elaborate record-destroying device. This oversight, and any attendant suffering, is our fault, and we are very sorry. We promise to be less ambitious in the future. We are currently making 100% non-warped, colored-vinyl LPs to replace these damaged LPs."[11]

Further on in the same article the label explains its decision to release I Love You, Honeybear as a double LP: "Due to its length and the wide audio spectrum of the recording, we at Sub Pop, together with Father John Misty, decided that the album sounded much better cut at 45 RPM over 2 pieces of vinyl. Though we all prefer the listening experience of a single piece of vinyl, we decided in this case to prioritize audio quality (an admittedly very subjective determination)."[11]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [14]
The A.V. ClubA−[15]
Chicago Tribune    [16]
The Guardian     [17]
Mojo     [18]
Q     [21]
Rolling Stone     [22]

I Love You, Honeybear received widespread acclaim from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 87, based on 34 reviews.[13] Josh Terry of The A.V. Club said, "With a welcoming tenor and a likeably schmaltzy delivery that finds him displaying loads of range and emotions, he's able to give his subject matter the unforgiving and ultimately warm treatment it deserves."[15] Greg Kot of Chicago Tribune said, "Misty's music cushions some of his most outrageous observations in plush wordless harmonies, strings and orchestral-pop melodies, sometimes to a point where he melts into background music."[16] Mojo stated, "There are grand arrangements and barbed bon mots in the style of Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson, but what's most striking are the more restrained moments."[18] Exclaim!'s Matthew Ritchie gave the album a perfect score, writing that "Tillman's intentions and feelings as a songwriter have never seemed so clear."[24] Laura Studarus of DIY said, "Still, for all his determination to thumb his nose at convention, I Love You, Honeybear finds Tillman falling face first into perhaps the most expected of musical tropes: the "mature" sophomore release."[25]

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian praised the album's lyrics, writing "There are moments when, if you're listening closely, the constant lyrical shifts from caustic irony to plaintive declarations of love can really knock you for six, not least on the title track."[17] Pitchfork's Mike Powell gave the album a "Best New Music" designation, calling it "an album by turns passionate and disillusioned, tender and angry, so cynical it's repulsive and so openhearted it hurts."[20] AllMusic's James Christopher Monger wrote "Honeybear has the architecture of its predecessor, but features braver melodic choices, and at a pure pop level, is the far more challenging LP of the two, but it rewards the listener constantly."[14] Brennan Carley of Spin said, "If Tillman's this brilliantly pointed as a paramour, we're scared to hear the breakup album."[23]

Alex Denney of NME said, "Written around the time Tillman got hitched to this girlfriend, it's a hugely ambitious, caustically funny album about the redemptive possibilities of love, and being heartily sick of your own bullshit."[19] Marc Hirsh of The Boston Globe, on the other hand, criticized the album's lyrics, writing "with a default mode of arch snarkery, Misty doesn't have much to say; he gets off a sharp line here and there, but can't string them together into anything greater."[26] In an otherwise positive review, PopMatters' Sean McCarthy wrote "After an amazingly solid first half, the second half of Honeybear suffers some lag, either because of some tracks have a lack of a memorable hook or chorus ("Strange Encounter"), or experiments that just don't pan out (see the laugh track on "Bored in the U.S.A.")."[27] Will Hermes of Rolling Stone said, "Upping the spectacle from Fear Fun his 2012 debut, I Love You, Honeybear is an autobiographical set about love, marriage and derangement that's both ironic and empathic."[22] Q stated, "For its black lyrical humour alone, I Love You, Honeybear would be a winner. The fact that it's matched to towering songwriting makes it masterful stuff."[21]

Year-end listsEdit

Publication Rank Ref.
The A.V. Club
Rough Trade

Commercial performanceEdit

I Love You, Honeybear debuted at number 17 on the US Billboard 200 with 28,000 copies sold in its first week. Its debut represented Tillman's best album sales week to date.[34] As of July 2015, the album has sold 74,000 copies domestically.[35] Approximately 30% of the album's units sold have been, both in its debut and cumulatively, in the vinyl configuration.[34][35]

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by Josh Tillman.

1."I Love You, Honeybear"4:38
2."Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)"2:50
3."True Affection"3:56
4."The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt."3:36
5."When You're Smiling and Astride Me"4:34
6."Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow"4:34
7."Strange Encounter"4:19
8."The Ideal Husband"3:35
9."Bored in the USA"4:22
10."Holy Shit"4:01
11."I Went to the Store One Day"4:26
Total length:44:51


Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[36]


Chart (2015) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[37] 38
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[38] 17
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[39] 54
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[40] 86
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[41] 29
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[42] 27
French Albums (SNEP)[43] 104
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[44] 36
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[45] 10
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[46] 36
UK Albums (OCC)[47] 14
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[48] 3
US Folk Albums (Billboard)[49] 2
US Billboard 200[50] 17


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Silver 60,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Label Ref.
United Kingdom and Europe February 9, 2015
  • CD
  • digital download
Bella Union [52]
Rest of the world February 10, 2015 Sub Pop [3]


  1. ^ a b "'s 25 Best Albums of 2015: Critics' Picks". Billboard. December 15, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Minsker, Evan (November 4, 2014). "Father John Misty Announces I Love You, Honeybear, Performs "Bored in the USA" on "Letterman"". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Sub Pop Records : Father John Misty : I Love You, Honeybear". Sub Pop. February 10, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Fennessey, Sean (February 6, 2015). "The Third Revelation of Father John Misty". Grantland. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Totty, Lindsay (February 13, 2015). "A Serious Man: Father John Misty's Transformation In Progress". NPR Music. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  6. ^ Cohen, Ian (November 6, 2014). "Father John Misty "Bored in the USA"". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  7. ^ Rettig, James (November 3, 2014). "Watch Father John Misty Play "Bored In The USA" From New Album I Love You, Honeybear On Letterman". Stereogum. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  8. ^ Breihan, Tom (December 8, 2014). "Father John Misty – "Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)" Video". Stereogum. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Sawyer, Sam. "Hear the New Song, "Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)" by Father John Misty Now". Sub Pop. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  10. ^ Young, Alex (January 27, 2015). "Father John Misty "streaming" new album I Love You, Honeybear on his new digital music platform". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Sawyer, Sam. "On the subject of the Deluxe LP Edition of Father John Misty's I Love You, Honeybear…". Sub Pop. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  12. ^ "I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Reviews for I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty". Metacritic. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  14. ^ a b Monger, James Christopher. "I Love You, Honeybear – Father John Misty". AllMusic. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  15. ^ a b Terry, Josh (February 10, 2015). "Father John Misty tackles romance on the masterful I Love You, Honeybear". The A.V. Club. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  16. ^ a b Kot, Greg (February 6, 2015). "Father John Misty uncorks a belter with 'Honeybear'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  17. ^ a b Petridis, Alexis (February 5, 2015). "Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear review – beautiful songs of unclear meaning". The Guardian. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear". Mojo (256): 94. March 2015.
  19. ^ a b Denney, Alex (February 3, 2015). "Father John Misty – 'I Love You, Honeybear'". NME. Archived from the original on February 3, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  20. ^ a b Powell, Mike (February 9, 2015). "Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear". Q (344): 107. March 2015.
  22. ^ a b Hermes, Will (February 10, 2015). "I Love You, Honeybear". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  23. ^ a b Carley, Brennan (February 9, 2015). "SPIN Album of the Week: Father John Misty's Breathtaking 'I Love You, Honeybear'". Spin. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  24. ^ Ritchie, Matthew. "Father John Misty I Love You, Honeybear". Exclaim!. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  25. ^ Studarus, Laura. "Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear album review". DIY. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  26. ^ Hirsh, Marc (February 10, 2015). "Father John Misty, 'I Love You Honeybear'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  27. ^ McCarthy, Sean (February 9, 2015). "Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear". PopMatters. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  28. ^ "The 15 Best Albums Of 2015". The A.V. Club. December 7, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  29. ^ "NME's Albums of the Year 2015". NME. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  30. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2015". Pitchfork. December 16, 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  31. ^ "Readers' Poll Results 2015". Pitchfork. January 5, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  32. ^ "Albums of the Year 2015". Rough Trade. Archived from the original on December 20, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2015.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  33. ^ "The 50 Best Albums Of 2015". Stereogum. December 1, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  34. ^ a b White, Emily (February 20, 2015). "Modest Mouse Scores First No. 1 on Adult Alternative Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
  35. ^ a b Lynch, Joe (July 2, 2015). "Taylor Swift's '1989' Tops 2015 Vinyl Sales; See the Other 9 Best Sellers So Far". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
  36. ^ I Love You, Honeybear (Media notes). Josh Tillman. Sub Pop. 2015.CS1 maint: others (link)
  37. ^ " – Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  38. ^ "Father John Misty Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  39. ^ " – Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  40. ^ " – Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  41. ^ " – Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  42. ^ " – Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  43. ^ " – Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  44. ^ " – Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  45. ^ " – Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  46. ^ " – Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  47. ^ "Father John Misty | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  48. ^ "Father John Misty Chart History (Top Alternative Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  49. ^ "Father John Misty Chart History (Top Americana/Folk Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  50. ^ "Father John Misty Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  51. ^ "British album certifications – Father John Misty – I Love You Honeybear". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 3, 2018. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type I Love You Honeybear in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  52. ^ "Father John Misty 'I Love You, Honeybear' COMING THIS FEBRUARY…". Bella Union. Retrieved May 22, 2015.

External linksEdit