Compared to Pure Comedy, the 2017 album that spread out over the course of 75 minutes, God’s Favorite Customer feels light and breezy. That’s intentional, of course. Father John Misty never makes a move that isn’t considered, and God’s Favorite Customer is designed to be the digestif after a multi-course feast: a palette cleanser that riffs upon the flavors lingering on the tongue. Josh Tillman may strip away the excesses of Pure Comedy — there isn’t a track that comes close to ten minutes; the longest are just barely over five minutes — but he still favors stately ballads that conjure the ghost of early Elton John, the troubadour who created burnished epics instead of sprightly pop tunes. Misty may have a way with a melody, particularly ones with a melodramatic flair, along with a fondness for lush, louche surroundings, a combination that carries a sordid allure, but he’s also compelled to undercut his appeal by stepping on his own rakishness. God’s Favorite Customer is littered with asides and in-jokes, peaking with the winking self-parody of “Mr. Tillman” and bottoming on “The Palace,” where Tillman offers the revelation “Last night I wrote a poem/Man, I must’ve been in the poem zone.” As Tillman’s voice is pushed to the front of the mix — there’s no hiding from the many words of this singer/songwriter — it’s difficult to avoid his lyrics, which will either play as devilishly clever or solipsistic slop depending on your perspective. Then again, that double edge is also by design: Father John Misty means to provoke and soothe in equal measure, which is precisely what he does on God’s Favorite Customer.