As we eagerly await the release of Chloë and the Next 20th Century (April 8, Sub Pop), Joshua Tillman’s first full-length album as Father John Misty since 2018’s God’s Favorite Customer, he’s shared its second single, “Q4.” The song, which follows lead single “Funny Girl,” comes with a cinematic, semi-meta music video directed by Grant James, who previously worked on videos for essential FJM tracks “Funtimes in Babylon” and “I Love You, Honeybear.”
Capturing the entire rise and fall of fictional author Simone Caldwell in a quick five-minute snapshot, “Q4” is a sweeping orchestral track, layered with sonic textures that emerge and retreat as if to bend with the peaks and valleys of our heroine’s journey. Musically, it follows the dramatic path reminiscent of a film score that “Funny Girl” carved out before it. Chronicling the origin and release of Simone’s memoir, the story of which she steals from her deceased sister (“Leigh died so many months ago / ‘By now this tragedy’s my own!’”), it all ends with both her literary career and personal relationships understandably going up in flames (“Can’t see her brother now unsupervised”). It’s gorgeous and absurd; in other words, it’s quintessential Father John Misty.
The video is almost an essential piece of “Q4”’s puzzle. The tale of the book is visually paired with the opening titles for the film adaptation, which the lyrics mention “was a total mess.” Featuring title design by Rafa Orrico and typestract animation by Cossa, the title sequence for the movie, which we discover is called As If (very Cher Horowitz), matches the song’s sense of humor. Standout details include some of the more questionable credits, including an “esperanto translator,” a “synth wrangler” and two different occultists, one for the fictional director and the other for the lead actress. It expands upon the worldbuilding Tillman has always done with his music, hinting what is yet to come for the rest of the album, including its forthcoming third and fourth singles, “Goodbye Mr. Blue” and “Kiss Me (I Loved You).”
Father John Misty has also announced select shows through the coming months, including two symphony performances in Los Angeles at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the LA Philharmonic on Feb. 25, and in London at the Barbican with Britten Sinfonia on April 7, both of which are sold out. Additionally, he’s announced two intimate shows at New York’s legendary Rainbow Room on April 14. Entry to one show is free with the purchase of a signed LP edition of Chloë and The Next 20th Century from Rough Trade, who will serve as the event’s co-host with Rockefeller Center. No word yet on when we can expect tour plans for the rest of the album rollout.
Check out the “Q4” video below, and keep scrolling to revisit Father John Misty’s 2012 Daytrotter session. You can preorder Chloë and The Next 20th Century here.