Payin' Hard

Album: Wild World (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • Kip Moore closes Wild World with this contemplative, stripped-down track about some of his regrets. He sings about not spending enough time with loved ones and his remorse over lost opportunities.
  • The first verse about a lost love concerns the same "Janie Blu" who is the subject of the album's opening track. "Janie is a real character," Moore told Taste of Country Nights in a video interview.

    "I do that a lot with my records. Mary was all over the first one. I'm never gonna tell you who it is, but there definitely are characters that will influence records at times and different songs. A lot of this is my way of sometimes releasing whatever bones I might have buried in a natural way and trying to process... the feelings I've had through the years, that way I can move on from it."
  • The second verse is about Moore's father, Stanley, who died in 2011 of cancer.

    It sure passed me by when I should have saw my dad
    But I plugged it in to another town
    Swore another chance would come around again
    And now he's gone, that kind of gone that don't come back


    Moore was so busy touring he neglected his terminally ill father, and now it's too late.
  • He sums up his pain on the chorus.

    My life's a credit card
    Play now, pay later and I'm paying hard


    Moore told Taste of Country: "It's possibly the single most personal song I've ever written. I think that it's a very direct mirror on what I was feeling during this specific time of my life of writing this record, when I was completely wiped in every facet, having a lot of questions in my head, wondering if I'd done things the wrong way. I've always been so consumed with this because I love it so much that I end up neglecting things that are important to me in my life. And I'm starting to find balance and understand that I don't know if I'm willing to do that anymore."
  • Moore wrote the song with longtime co-writers Blair Daly ("Beer Money," "Running for You") and Westin Davis ("I'm to Blame," "Guitar Man"). He told Billboard how the trusted pair gave him the help he needed to complete the cut.

    "They were special days in the room and when I was singing 'Payin' Hard' trying to do the demo, it was so honest and so real for me at that moment. It was the first time ever, ever in my years of writing and recording that I couldn't get through a song. I couldn't sing it. I kept breaking down and I couldn't sing it.

    They kept telling me to just come back another day when you feel like you can, and I was like, 'Nah, I want to get this out today.' I was comfortable enough with those two; there was a strong enough friendship and bond and I was not afraid to be that vulnerable in that room with those two because I mean Westin is like my brother. I was having a really tough time singing that lyric that day, but I got it out. I finally got it done."

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