TJ Doyle’s “Lullaby” begins in a wave of dreamy melodicism that will only grow more affective and relatable as we press on in this stunning new single from the noted singer/songwriter. The percussion has an anxious jitter to its strut, but there’s enough confidence in our crooner’s lead vocal to balance out the energy between the two. The intimacy level goes through the roof as he sings the chorus with an aching, organic emotionality, and it soon becomes clear (to all who were curious) why Doyle’s latest release has been getting so much buzz from American folk/pop critics this summer. “Lullaby” is a heartwarming, harmony-driven ballad in an age of augmented noise, synthetic melodies and unfelt lyricism.
There’s no denying the influence that Neil Young had on TJ Doyle’s work after listening to this song, but I wouldn’t say that this single is strictly an homage in the least. If you ask me, there are too many alternative facets to the construction of the hook here, and moreover, the delivery of the lyrics, for “Lullaby” to be considered a refashioned take on Neil’s classic model.
Doyle goes out of his way to put an emphasis on the textures in his instrumentation in this track, and the master mix ends up favoring the relationship between the different components more than it ever does his directive vocal. This is a very contemporary folk song, and calling it anything but an original slice of magic would be doing a great disservice to the artist who created it.
In the last few years, TJ Doyle has really come into his own as a composer, and I love what he’s doing with his lyrical approach right now in particular. He’s got such an honest, vulnerable tone here, and you can tell right from the start that he’s being as real as a singer/songwriter can be from within the confines of a recording studio. Doyle may not have caught fire among mainstream audiences with his conceptual early work ala 2009’s One True Thing, but he’s definitely making a splash with fans across the board with “Lullaby,” which is a single that I would describe as being his most important released to date.