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ROBYN PAYNE ‘JIMMY (FEAT. JAY MCNEILL)’ REVIEW

Robyn Payne Jimmy Single

Jimmy (feat. Jay McNeill) is the new release for Australian music artist Robyn Payne.

The track is a collaboration between Casey Pilcher and Robyn Payne and features the vocals of Jay McNeill. Immediately apparent from the opening verse is the focus on our lead character—upstanding citizen and brotherly charmer by all accounts—with the narrator guiding us through a condensed life, one that’s as dedicational as it is revealing.

In some instances, what we’re told about Jimmy tells us a lot more about the narrator. As one line divulges,  There was that time I was broke and empty, I got by when I found a fifty / turned out he’d slipped it in my wallet. There are two stories at play here and the specificity is worth noting. But more on that later.

The song’s melodic bite begins early, with the verses a strong enough counterpart to the chorus hook, which for all its 90s era conjuring leaves a definitive and memorable mark. And the unadorned production helps; there is space enough here. There are moments when the intensity is ramped up, such as the chugging guitar thrusts of the chorus, but this is offset by the peeled back instrumentation and less vigorous playing of the verses.

All this streamlining allows the lyric to rise to the surface, giving the listener a better chance of taking in the tale. The track does get busier as we progress, to such an extent as to warrant a guitar solo, a blazing show that firmly upholds the rock tradition. But there are more surprises; a re-energising key change and a final disclosure that acts as a fitting end to the narrative. But it’s all about the specifics, and the tussle between fiction and fact in Jimmy is a worthy dynamic to explore.

We’re not sure if Jimmy existed, but is that something we need to know? We take for granted that he did, at least during the song, and the detail, neatly dramatized here, is what matters.

As Casey Pilcher, lyricist, and co-writer, says about the inspiration behind his writing, ‘Many songs are loosely based, or closely based, on my real-world experiences. I’ve generalised them to reflect broader society or changed aspects of the narrator, but like many songs out there and well known, e.g. Tears In Heaven, yes, there is often a personal background. Some are just about a topic I relate to, others a specific experience.’ One can only guess that the latter has influenced Jimmy, which only imbues the track with yet another layer of entertaining intrigue.

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