Kip Moore’s highly-anticipated studio album Wild World, the fourth of his career, is finally here and it’s holding nothing back. With unarguably the most vulnerable, introspective, and personal song of his career, Kip closes out the record with the deep, dark, and painfully beautiful, “Payin’ Hard.”
“My life’s a credit card, Play now, pay later, And I’m payin’ hard”
An absolute gut-punch of a song, “Payin’ Hard” finds Kip staring hard into the mirror in an effort to come to grips with the regrets that he has carried throughout his career. Between lovers that slipped through his fingers and most importantly, the death of his father, Kip lays it all out there and confronts things that still haunt him. He reflects back on the times when important people in his life took a backseat to music, and now… it’s too late to get them back.
“I only see him now in dreams that I have I gotta live with that, Lose sleep with that When I close my eyes, I’ll die with that, yeah My life’s a credit card, Play now, pay later, And I’m payin’ hard”
But ultimately, we find shades of forgiveness, shades of comfort and peace. And while those regrets might still creep in from time to time, “Payin’ Hard,” feels like standing under a waterfall after you’ve been stuck in the mud for years. A baptism of sorts, washing the pain away. For songwriters, writing can be a cathartic exercise, a therapeutic battleground for hashing out all your own shit with yourself. And by the end of this one, Kip seems to have found a sense of resolve.
“I’ll live with that, Sleep with that, Make my peace, And I’ll die with that, yeah”
It’s heavy, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s absolutely beautiful. And while this song will unquestionably resonate with fans who carry similar burdens, you know Kip wrote this one for himself. A song he had to write, his white whale.
And if nothing else, it should remind us all of the kind of sacrifices you have to make to chase a dream. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows out there on the road.
Are we looking at an early front-runner for song of the year? You better believe it.