With such creative breadth, it should come as no surprise that Tillman claims influences as far-ranging as the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Gang of Four, and Patti Smith. With his latest album, the astonishing My Majesty, he offers additional reference points: the lo-fi funky shuffle of Beck, the moody baroque pop of Morrissey, the stripped-down verve of the White Stripes, and the heart and soul of everything great about '60s pop. Tillman's ace in the hole behind all of his musical masks is his brilliant songwriting, which finds him constantly exploring the tension between emotion and execution (angry lyrics with a bouncy soundtrack, depressed lyrics set to buoyant music, etc.), with his subjects of choice generally being the vacuum left by love's sudden departure and the parties that help fill the void afterward. And death. And teenage angst. And life. And did we mention the parties?
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