Friday, October 09, 2015

Father John Misty's Overt Explanation of Overtly Taking Down His Overt Covers of Taylor Swift

Pitchfork has the story:
[T]he covers of "Blank Space" and "Welcome to New York" came together over the span of "like, an hour", when he passed by his tour manager's office and found her listening to Adams' 1989. Tillman says that he never heard Swift's originals prior to that day (although he concedes, "I’m sure I’ve been walking by a Cinnabon or something at the airport and heard it"). To record the new versions, he referred to a printout of Swift's lyrics.

After he uploaded the covers, Tillman became surprised by their immense popularity. "By the time I got back to the bus that night," he recalls, "my TM [tour manager] was like, 'It’s the top trend on Facebook! It’s on USA Today!', and I was like, 'this is ridiculous,' so I went and took them down, thinking, 'now that’s over'."

Except it wasn't. Media outlets (including this one) began reaching out asking why he took down the covers. Even Taylor Swift's camp got in touch to ask why they came down and encouraged him to put them back up.

So Tillman decided to troll everyone by issuing a statement that Lou Reed came to him in a dream and asked him to take down the covers. "I was annoyed at the media," he explained. "I was like, 'these people will print anything', so I went and gave them the most fraudulent, the most blatantly absurd, unprintable piece of surrealistic nonsense – and they printed it!"
I guess he thinks the people who printed that thought it was something other than surrealistic nonsense but I can assure him that was not the case. It must be interesting to live in a world where you assume people are so dumb. Anyway, this is pure Overtness all around: capitalizes on someone else's really good idea, gets embarrassed about it, tries to be clever/weird, and then finally can't just let that be the last of it because he's worried people might have thought he was serious, which really would have been better than recanting. Poor form, sir!

I'm so weird! You're so dumb!


Tom Eisenbraun said...

Keep in mind that Tillman has a tricky relationship with Pitchfork. Also, check out the actual interview for his take on what happened. He was essentially being asked by Taylor Swift's camp to make a statement on why he pulled the tracks, so as not to implicate TS's camp in any major-label bullying about copyright. His silence would've appeared damning, and because he was asked to say something and realized that it was best not to implicate Swift in the issue, he wrote that "surrealistic nonsense." The "they" he refers to is not us, but US Today and anyone else who reprinted that statement about the "dream" taking it at face value and running it with the lede line "Lou Reed Came to Josh Tillman in a Dream." Of course he didn't, and anyone familiar with the guy's career, and especially his prose has seen that surrealist landscape before.

Check out the whole interview, not just Pitchfork's spare quotes and pithy summary of the situation, which every other news aggregator then reprinted without adding to. Pitchfork's assessment "says he was trolling everybody with the whole Lou Reed dream thing" completely misses his point. I'm not arguing that he's not being overt, because he absolutely is, but this is more about his relationship with the media machine, and with good reason, not him trying to dupe the entirety of humanity because he's witty enough to get us to believe anything.

Unknown said...

Good points!