Father John Misty has removed his Velvet Underground-style covers of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and “Welcome to New York” after detailing on Facebook a presumably apocryphal, ridiculous dream in which the angry spirit of Lou Reed visited the singer.
A slew of absurdities precede Reed’s appearance, which essentially amounts to a prophetic cameo. Tillman posted the songs in response to Ryan Adams’ own album of 1989 covers, and his “dream” seems to function as a half-baked, shaggy dog meditation on the cyclical nature of pop and the work of other artists for personal gain.
The dream opens with Tillman crab-walking around New Orleans and being reminded by an old friend he owes a tennis rental shop $7,000. He’s then berated by French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan for his egoism, after which Tillman finds himself surrounded by a mass of crying people, traveling the world via treadmill.
Then there’s the Obama interlude. En route to a soundcheck, Tillman writes he was scooped up by the President on Air Force One and the pair spent a day in Hawaii shooting hoops, petting his dogs, golfing and making policy decisions. Things get Freudian when Obama morphs into “an obscene visage of [Tillman’s] father,” who tells him, in the most harrowing way, to have fun. Then the musician leaps from the airplane and lands on a giant pink blob.
Tillman concluded: “Down inside the blob I could see thousands of familiar faces and one of them was Lou Reed on a catwalk hand-cuffed to supermodels who had adopted babies handcuffed to them and Lou said, ‘Delete those tracks, don’t summon the dead, I am not your plaything. The collection of souls is an expensive pastime.’ Then I woke up.”
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Real or not, Tillman’s dream is a fittingly overwrought explanation for why he took down his Velvet Underground-style cover of “Blank Space,” which arrived with the snarky description, “My reinterpretation of the classic Ryan Adams album 1989.”