Jawny – ‘It’s Never Fair, Always True’ review: new levels of bedroom-pop gold

On his debut album, the LA-based star opens up in new ways, and absorbs elements of funk and heavy alt-rock

When you’ve summoned the explosive attention that bedroom-pop upstart Jawny did back in 2019, overnight fame isn’t easy to navigate. His breezy bop ‘Honeypie’ might have since amassed a billion streams on all platforms globally, but the artist born Jacob Lee-Nicholas Sullenger has handled his rise with ease, upping sticks from life as a fried chicken chef in Philly to Los Angeles to ensure that everything that follows is just as vital.

“This is the place you go to shoot for your dreams,” Jawny told NME while strolling down the streets of West Hollywood late last year. You can tell from the brisk, untitled opener of ‘It’s Never Fair, Always True’ that he’s sticking to that bold mantra as the track throws you into his serotonin-lifting world. The spritely keys offer clues of the vibrant palette on the horizon as the track grows in a whirlwind of romance: “Never fair it’s always true / I know that I’m in love with you / It’s always,” he sings over shimmering production.

It’s instantly clear that this album is all about expanding the colourful universe Jawny built with a string of early singles. Most of those big hitters make appearances here: the punchy ‘Strawberry Chainsaw’ cuts in like a grunge-flecked Strokes anthem as he dispatches lovelorn verses. “My worst fear is a one where you’re not near,” Jawny sings. “Cause I love you more than I could love myself.” Elsewhere, summery ballad Adios’ comes as another standout, with glimmering guitar lines seemingly built for strolling the sun-soaked Hollywood streets.

Jawny’s larger-than-life personality remains in full bloom across the record. There’s a carefree spirit behind the plucky daydream of ‘La La La’, which swirls with the dizzying joy of a new love. Yet there’s scope for tenderness as well. The McCartney-esque piano tune ‘Fall In Love’ shows there’s more to Jawny than catchy alt-pop as he adds depth to his sound with a triumphant string section.


The record’s grittier moments are just as impacting; notably, Beck team-up ‘Take It Back’, a scuzzy blast of alt-rock with wailing solos and thrashing vocals. Such a collaboration is a testament to the fact that Jawny’s rapid rise isn’t down to chance. This is a debut album that opens up a myriad of possibilities for Jawny as he continues to blaze his own ridiculously fun trail in a mainstream space.


jawny album

  • Release date: March 3
  • Record label: Interscope



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