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An Analysis & Review of Will Jay’s Heartbreaking Song & Video “By Now”

Will Jay is a musician, dancer and songwriter hailing from California, who has been fighting his way through the music world from a young age. Will Jay got started with the boy band “IM5,” departing from it at the young age of 19. On May 28, 2019, Will Jay released a song and lyric video, “I Can Only Write My Name”  marking the commencement of a new era of his music. He has promised to release a song a month going forward, keeping the promise for June with “By Now,” which was released on June 18, 2019.

“By Now” opens with Will Jay’s voice over absolute silence, stating, “I don’t talk to anyone from high school/Cause I dropped out freshman year.” In the video he stares forward with a melancholy expression, shrouded by darkness while sitting at an abandoned party table, though the viewer can see a party occurring behind him. The introduction of the piano begins slowly, as Will Jay sings, “Signed a record deal/Then made an album/No one’s ever gonna hear.”

Will Jay goes on to sing about the sacrifices he made for minimal reward, as a woman comes over to kiss him on the forehead though he stays facing forward with a somber gaze. He sings, “But I’ll keep breaking my own heart/Finding ways to make it out/I’m still not where I wanna be/So what more do you want from me?”

The chorus begins and he sings about years passing by with little change. He had previously sung of the accomplishments and milestones met by his peers, though in the chorus he reveals the way that he remains stagnant and upsettingly consistent. He sings, “I should have been somebody/By now.”

The next verse includes startling and painful revelations. It includes an example of a sacrifice he made when his father became sick, “I was  five I never stop performing/Even when my dad got sick I stayed behind my family moved to Houston/ One more fucking show I just couldn’t miss.” A man walks up to him and claps him on the shoulder, and then turns around and rejoins the party. Will Jay then sings about how he’s given all that he’s got and still hasn’t progressed as much as he would have liked. People walk behind him without acknowledging him to join the rest of the group, as he laments “what more do you want from me.” Though the target of his words is unknown, he could be directing this lyric at labels, his parents, or even himself.

The chorus repeats as the party comes to surround him and present him with a birthday cake, with Will Jay never looking away from the camera or even smiling. This highlights how Will Jay has spent his life transfixed on one specific thing, missing both major and minor moments in his life.

Will Jay crafts a song that leaves the listener concerned for Will, and pondering their complacency in encouraging the exhaustion of their favorite musicians. He opens up about burnout and making upsetting decisions for the sake of a career that hasn’t turned out the way he wanted. He reveals hardships and hurt often hidden by artists, sharing that despite all he has done, there is a lack of satisfaction and traces of both personal and professional regret that plague him. “By Now” is a painful exploration of expectations and dreams.

 

 

Featured image via Will Jay’s Official Twitter

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Helen Ehrlich is a writer who enjoys politics, activism and charity work, music, and all things literary. She lives in America where she attends school.

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