Our pattern-seeking minds have a tendency to connect dots that are not actually there. We can search for serendipity wherever we choose, and from time to time, can attribute events best ascribed to luck to something else entirely. A conspiracy theory is better than no theory. Any information is good information. Father John Misty’s lyrics often function in this space. There’s a universality that allows for the easy overlay personal experiences and truths, while other outtakes function as open-ended commentary. His hyper-contemporary, hyper-self-aware writing casts a wide net over society and hauls in whatever it can.
On the plaintive “Two Wildly Different Perspectives”, there’s no such attempt at subtlety. The lyrics are atypically grounded and direct, the theatrics held to an essential minimum. If the irony of Josh Tillman’s alter ego is sometimes too much to stomach, the sincerity and conciliatory tone of “Two Wildly Different Perspectives” plays like a soothing balm, a much needed voice of reason in a space where it’s all too easy to succumb to fear and bitterness. The arrangement is minimal to the point of translucency, helping lay out the state of Tillman’s psyche as he wearily surveys the wreckage.
“Two Wildly Different Perspectives” is an elegy of sorts. “Everyone ends up with less/On both sides,” he sings towards the song’s end, acknowledging collective loss. But it’s one thing to recognize self-destructive behavior; it’s another entirely to make amends. Perhaps the damage is too severe. Perhaps the past cannot be claimed intact, the void that has been created cannot be filled with mere words and deeds. It’s a tacit acknowledgement that even if some things are irreparable, healing is possible.