Jimmy Wayne – “I Will”

Brady Vercher | September 26th, 2008

Jimmy WayneSongwriters: Rory Lee Feek and Dave Pahanish

While Jimmy Wayne’s Valory Music Co. label mate, Jewel, is testing the transition from pop to country, it seems Wayne is headed the opposite way. After topping the charts for multiple weeks with the less-than-stellar title track from Do You Believe Me Now, he’s ready to hit us with his second single, “I Will.” This time, however, any semblance of actual country music is completely lost. In fact, it more closely resembles the Backstreet Boys than Merle Haggard or even Garth Brooks. The only thing country about this track is that it was mastered by a guy named Hank Williams.

Looking at the credits will actually give you a good idea of what went wrong:

Jimmy Wayne – Acoustic Guitar; Joe West – B3, Piano, Rhodes, Synth, Electric Guitar, Programming, Percussion; Dave Pahanish – Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Mandolin; Tom Bukovac – Electric Guitar; John Richardson – Drums; Mark Hill – Bass; Scotty Sanders – Steel; Billy Kirsch – Piano; Charlie Judge – Strings; Joe West, Charlie Judge – String Arrangement; Joe West, Dave Pahanish, Jeanne Richardson – Background Vocals

Can anyone say a cacophony of sound? And where’s the actual artist? It was produced by Joe West and Dave Pahanish and their names appear in the credits for this one song six and four times, respectively. They basically said, “Hey Jimmy, sing this,” an his response was “Okay.” After all, this is the guy that dropped his britches at the airport because he thought the security personnel told him to.

The steel is nothing more than a superfluous addition, other than the six second intro when it’s joined by a piano where they actually complement each other quite nicely. Then the cymbal comes crashing in and marks the end of anything worthwhile. After Wayne sings the first chorus, a weird reverberation enters the mix and becomes a distraction throughout the song. As if it couldn’t get any worse, following the second chorus, Wayne enters hyper-excitable video game mode, which leads into full power ballad mode, and then the denouement with Wayne finally telling the woman he’s been going schizo on that he loves her.

The lyric itself hardly offers anything and comes across as too melodramatic in the process. The chorus consists of “I will, I will give up my life for you if you want it/Give you my heart, you already own it/I’ll do anything, I’ll go anywhere, it’s true/I will, I will, I will.” Perhaps it’s just a case of unfortunate phrasing, but to give up your life just because someone else wants is an immature way to profess love for someone. The woman has been given a ticket to walk all over the poor guy and he doesn’t have a pair to do anything about it. How about this “heavy” handed metaphor: “I don’t want to weigh you down like an anchor.”

Any station attempting to pass this off as country music should be ashamed.

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1 Ping

  1. [...] more absurd, linking fried potato sticks with freedom or this song with country music?" — Thomas "I don't know what all the criticism is about. This is a beautiful love song and Jimmy Wayne [...]
  1. Hollerin' Ben
    September 26, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Jimmy Wayne singing a Rory song, what could possibly go wrong?

  2. Chris N.
    September 26, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    I’ll play devil’s advocate: Since when does a lyrical protagonist have to be mature or “have a pair” for a song to be good?

  3. Rick
    September 26, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    If all the little girlies that make up a sizeable share of the Top 40 Crapola Country radio think Jimmy is cute enough, then the quality of the singles he puts out is almost irrelevant. The young female audience Taylor Swift has attracted will support the careers of the pretty boys, who can put the pretty boy posters next to The Jonas Brothers on the walls and ceilings of their frilly, foo-foo bedrooms…..

  4. leeann Ward
    September 26, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    My tent is not big enough for this song!

  5. Matt B.
    September 26, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    I actually like the melody in this song but I agree it’s stretching what most people define country music as.

    Rick, I enjoy reading your posts here (and at Roughstock) but what is so different about a “pretty boy” and the “pretty girls” you support? Just curious?

  6. Thomas
    September 26, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    what’s more absurd, linking fried potato sticks with freedom or this song with country music?

  7. Brady Vercher
    September 26, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    I’ll play devil’s advocate: Since when does a lyrical protagonist have to be mature or “have a pair” for a song to be good?

    If those were the only poor qualities of the song, then it’d stand a chance, but those weren’t the major contributing factors that made this song bad.

  8. Rick
    September 26, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Matt, that’s easy to answer, I like to look at and listen to the pretty girls whose music I enjoy (ie Ashley Monroe, Sarah Buxton, Elizabeth Cook, etc) and the pretty boys do nothing for me! (lol) I’m amazed Jamey Johnson’s “In Color” has almost cracked the Top 20 at AirHead Country radio, and its one of my least favorite cuts on “That Lonesome Song”.

    When it comes to male country artists all that matters to me is the quality of their music…..

  9. Jenna Vercher
    September 26, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Haha I totally agree with you, Brady.

  10. Razor X
    September 26, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    I’m waiting for someone to argue that this actually is country because it was recorded in Nashville on a “country” label and has six seconds of steel guitar on it. To those who are apologists for “today’s country”, you reap what you sow. Enjoy.

  11. Rainbw
    September 27, 2008 at 10:38 am

    It’s not country in any way, but I think it’s fairly good. A fairly good pop song.

  12. Razor X
    September 27, 2008 at 10:43 am

    >>It’s not country in any way, but I think it’s fairly good. A fairly good pop song.<<

    If you like overwrought ballads.

  13. Rainbow
    September 27, 2008 at 10:49 am

    >>If you like overwrought ballads.<<
    Haha
    I do like some, like Faith’s “Cry”.

  14. Razor X
    September 27, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Overwrought ballads have their place; just not in the country genre. I wish there was more honesty on the part of music companies in categorizing music. Be honest about the genre and don’t try to convince everyone that a song is something other than what it is.

  15. Rainbow
    September 27, 2008 at 11:06 am

    <>
    That’s why I called it a pop song. I’m not trying to kid myself, I know this song isn’t country. And so should radio.

  16. Razor X
    September 27, 2008 at 11:09 am

    >>I know this song isn’t country. And so should radio.<<

    And so should Jimmy Wayne and his label. That’s who my little diatribe was referring to — not to you (just so there’s no misunderstanding. ; ) ).

  17. Matt B.
    September 27, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I usually define music by two terms. Good or Bad. And while this song is on the ‘good’ side in my book, I don’t think it’s remotely ‘country’ any more than half of the songs on country radio are. But what did you expect from a guy whose heroes are Hall and Oates?

    Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, terrestrial radio has turned country music into the new ‘pop’ stations. so they will play ‘I Will.’ While some Sirius XM stations will play this song, there are many channels on them that won’t.

    How about another devil’s advocate thought: This song is country because of the lyric.

  18. Brady Vercher
    September 27, 2008 at 11:24 am

    How about another devil’s advocate thought: This song is country because of the lyric.

    You’re gonna have to back that up with a solid argument before I’ll bite.

  19. Razor X
    September 27, 2008 at 11:28 am

    “…terrestrial radio has turned country music into the new ‘pop’ stations. so they will play ‘I Will.'”

    One more reason, if you needed one, not to listen to mainstream country radio.

    “How about another devil’s advocate thought: This song is country because of the lyric.”

    There’s nothing country about the lyrics. If you’d never heard this song before and were handed a sheet of paper with the lyrics on it, there’s nothing about them that would tie this song to country music. Of course, after listening to the song, there’s STILL nothing to tie it to country music.

  20. Rainbow
    September 27, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    That’s who my little diatribe was referring to — not to you (just so there’s no misunderstanding. ;) ).
    I got that. ;)

  21. Matt B.
    September 27, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    You’re gonna have to back that up with a solid argument before I’ll bite.

    Honestly I’m not trying to give a solid arguement. I’m just giving what many people would say. I do think, though, that the lyrics do speak to/about guys who don’t realize a relationship is over so it does represent a ‘real’ aspect required of a country lyric. The ‘wuss’ factor of him being willing to ‘give up everything’ may just be the guy’s instant reaction to the break-up.

  22. Brady Vercher
    September 27, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Let’s pull this thing apart and take a closer look at it:

    The structure of the song is sorta atypical, especially with that rapid last verse (or is it the the bridge to nowhere that everyone’s been talking about)?

    The hook itself, “I Will,” continues a trend of uninspiring titles/hooks and it has to be repeated over and over because it’s not solid enough to sink on one pass. Nevertheless, it doesn’t carry any impact, one way or the other.

    I don’t want to weigh you down like an anchor/If that’s how you see me now, I would rather let you go free, just sail away

    This uninspired sailing motif pops up out of nowhere and makes things a little cloudy. The woman is leaving yet he claims to see happiness in her eyes, but he doesn’t know if she feels the same or if he’s just someone to blame. Then a couple lines later, he claims to be someone who really knows her. It doesn’t make sense.

    Giving up his life can mean a few different things. It can be taken literally or she could be opposed to the life he’s lived to that point and he’d change for her or he’s just willing to stick with her through it all. The first case is melodramatic, the second case isn’t likely, and the third makes the following line, “Give you my heart, you already own it,” redundant.

    I think something stronger than claiming it’s “real” is required to suggest that the lyric is country. Lots of poetry or songs from other genres are “real” without being country.

    Drew Kennedy sings a song with a somewhat similar scenario, but in “Goodbye,” the guy is leaving the woman because he realizes he’s not good for her. The premise is easily more creative, but compare this line to the previous line about being weighed down by an anchor:

    You deserve the truth/You deserve your youth/You deserve much better than holding me together.”

    Which one is more creative and has more emotional impact?

    “I Will” epitomizes many of the things people complain is wrong with Nashville: watered down lyrics (or is it anchored down?), assembly line production, and singers with no talent other than vocal ability (and pro-tools), not to mention the pop production. Why not just cover the Backstreet Boys to achieve everything this song does? It would have provided for an easier marketing gimmick.

  23. Razor X
    September 27, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    I say we find the gal he’s singing to and get her to call his bluff about giving up his life. ;-)

  24. Bobby
    September 27, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Yikes. That may be the most instruments I’ve seen in one song. I’ve seen whole *albums* that don’t use that much.

  25. Occasional Hope
    September 27, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    “I say we find the gal he’s singing to and get her to call his bluff about giving up his life. ;-)”

    I think that might be a criminal offence.

  26. Robin
    September 27, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    I don’t know what all the criticism is about. This is a beautiful love song and Jimmy Wayne has just the voice for it.

  27. PaulaW
    September 29, 2008 at 11:18 am

    From Hazel’s Hot Dish (CMT.com)

    Half asleep, Jimmy Wayne, wearing a T-shirt, shorts and sweatshirt, waited his turn at the airport in Oakland, Calif. Finally, he went through the metal detector — and it buzzed. And buzzed. And buzzed repeatedly each time he went through. The TSA officer did not have a North Carolina accent like Jimmy — and yours truly — so he said something that sounded like “remove your shorts.” Well, at least that’s what Jimmy thought he said, so the obedient young man did just that — removed his shorts and placed them on the conveyer belt.

    That’s when the TSA officer went ballistic and brought in some backup officers who were as big as king-sized pro wrestlers Kane and Undertaker. They grabbed Jimmy and handcuffed him for 25 minutes. Fortunately, Jimmy was still wearing his boxers while travelers walked by with cell phones snapping photos of the britches-less, scared to death singer. Eventually Jimmy was released, and no charges were filed. Don’t know if he got his britches back or not, though.

  28. Mayor Jobob
    October 5, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Country Music Has been to hell and back before. Remember Dan Seals?
    We need another fella like Randy Travis to come along and straighten things out.

  29. Mayor Jobob
    October 5, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Restless Heart & Steve Wariner too, Blecchh!!!

  30. Clinton
    October 15, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    It isn’t even country…more like pop

  31. Bobby
    November 16, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Restless Heart + Steve Wariner doesn’t sound too bad actually. This is Restless Heart + Steve Wariner + ‘N Sync + wall of sound.

  32. John Martin
    December 9, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    This song doesn’t sound too bad. I love it.

  33. iCF
    December 14, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    This is basically pop (like the previous single), but I really really like it. His vocals are just good. I’m liking him a lot more… I think the Loveless duet helped lol. I’m not too crazy about the album though.

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