While I love you honeybear was all about honesty, love and marriage, Pure comedy is a grand statement on society and humanity itself, according to the cynical and funny worldview of J.Tillman. With 13 tracks, including the 13 minute long Leaving LA, running at a total of 74 minutes, it is also Tillman’s longest record to date. The opening and title track pure comedy, takes us on a grand journey from the birth of humanity to the current state of society, cynically and humorously narrated by Tillman.
The comedy of man starts like this
Our brains are way too big for our mothers’ hips
And so Nature, she divines this alternative
We emerged half-formed and hope that whoever greets us on the other end
Is kind enough to fill us in
And, babies, that’s pretty much how it’s been ever since
Ain’t that some shit. The track does a great job of setting the tone of what’s to come and has one of the best instrumentals on the album. The short crescendo in the middle of the track also has one of Tillman’s best chord progressions to date, topped with screeching anxiety inducing horns. The following track, total entertainment 4ever, is about Tillman’s view on entertainment and how it is fundamentally stupid as a concept. Tillman does receive a lot of criticism from haters calling him a pretentious hipster asshole, and while I definitely can see where they’re coming from, with Tillman himself being an entertainer and all, he comes across as very self aware of this fact himself and goes on to make fun of it during the course of the album. The track is one of the most upbeat and fast on the entire album and also comes with a great music video featuring that guy from the home alone movies with the weird name that I’m not even gonna try spelling out. The next track, Things that would have been helpful to know before the revolution is one of my favorite songs on the album and is about what it would be like if mankind returned to its native state.
Sometimes I miss the top of the food chain sings Tillman and it works pretty good as a sum up.
The album is a lot slower and heavier in its tone than his previous work and while some fans might be put off by that, some will like it. That’s how things are sometimes. It’s more cohesive than his previous albums too, with all of the tracks sounding more similar to each other in terms of instrumentation. All in all, I think it’s a great album but it does require more attention from the listener in order to fully enjoy it and appreciate the often complex and witty lyrics.