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Hear Father John Misty’s Haunting Cover of Nirvana’s ‘Heart-Shaped Box’

Former Fleet Foxes drummer shares bare-bones rendition of the ‘In Utero’ classic

Daniel Kreps Feb 16, 2015
Josh Tillman/Photo by Ralph Arvesen/CC by 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

Josh Tillman/Photo by Ralph Arvesen/CC by 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

As a Valentine’s Day gift to fans and to celebrate the release of his intimately titled new album I Love You, Honeybear, Father John Misty, the solo project of singer-songwriter Josh Tillman, shared a sparse, acoustic cover of Nirvana’s tortured love song “Heart-Shaped Box.” The former Fleet Foxes drummer recorded his version of the track during an SXMU Sessions earlier this month.

Given the reverb and the focus on voice, Tillman’s “Heart-Shaped Box” cover sounds like the In Utero cut, Rolling Stone‘s 12th best Nirvana song, being reimagined by his previous band Fleet Foxes. However, Father John Misty’s haunting rendition is perhaps even more comparable to the similarly bare-bones treatment that Nirvana gave to “Pennyroyal Tea” on MTV Unplugged in New York.

Father John Misty isn’t the first artist to take on the In Utero classic: In 2012, Lana Del Rey covered “Heart-Shaped Box” during a Sydney, Australia concert. That performance sparked Courtney Love to tweet at the Ultraviolence singer, “You do know the song is about my Vagina right? ‘Throw down your umbilical noose so i can climb right back,’ umm. On top of which some of the lyrics about my vagina I contributed. So umm next time you sing it, think about my vagina will you?” Love and Del Ray can talk about the anatomy of “Heart-Shaped Box” on their joint Endless Summer tour this coming May.

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The “Heart-Shaped Box” cover wasn’t Tillman’s only romantic gesture prior to February 14th: His music video for “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” featured actual footage that he and his wife Emma shot on an iPad during their wedding anniversary.


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