Jimmy Randolph Jr.: My Sister is Mean

Paul Whyte

It’s not often that I get albums from minors. I of course take their lack of years and experience into consideration. Jimmy Randolph Jr. sent me this CD which is probably one of the only copies available. He included a note: “Dear Mr. Whyte, my name is Jimmy and I am 8 years old. I read the Reader. I get it from the library when my parents take me there. I got a guitar and have played for six months. I found Garage Band on my computer and learned to use it. You write good. My parents hate Paul Ryan. They say he has a potty mouth and will burn in hell. Please listen to this. I like the band Low.”

I probably wouldn’t review an album like this, but since I don’t have anything to review at the moment, I’ll give it a shot. Jimmy in his album titled, “My Sister is Mean” gives a candid view of what it’s like to be an eight year old in an American family. Musical artists often take in their experiences and vent them off through music, but it is unique to see an eight year old take on their own life. In fact it’s quite brilliant.

First off the recording of the album is rough to say the least and I’m pretty sure Jimmy only knows three or four chords. To put that in perspective, a lot of musicians seem to only know three or four chords, so let’s just let that slide.

The album opens with the track “Math is Lame.” In this song Jimmy describes how he does not enjoy his math class. “Multiplication and long division/who made this decision?/math is lame the teacher can’t teach this lesson,” sings Jimmy with a slightly off key, yet somehow endearing voice.

Songs like “My Mom is Mad” shows the turmoil that an eight year old might face. “My mom is mad, really mad/Mad at my Dad/Said some something he shouldn’t had/The meal was bad/We all knew it/I flushed it down the toilet.” The song takes a dark turn with the chorus, “Mom, don’t yell at Dad/The pretty waitress isn’t going to take him away/It makes me feel bad when you say you’ll divorce some day.”

The title track of the album brings in some fairly strong opinions of Jimmy’s somewhat wayward sister. “My Sister is Mean” is pretty convincing with Jimmy’s argument of his middle school aged sister who berates him at every opportunity, is slightly overweight, speaks behind her friend’s backs and posts nudes to her male classmates. “My ma and pa don’t know she’s lame/Stumbles home high and I’m to blame/My sister is mean/She makes a mess and I have to clean.” Hopefully social services doesn’t read my reviews.
The song “Church Sucks” brings out Jimmy’s views on the religious establishment and how he doesn’t enjoy waking up on Sunday, dressing up and sitting quietly through a sermon. “I hate waking up on Sunday morning/This pastor is so boring/If my mom didn’t poke me I would be snoring.”

The album ends of with the track “I Have to Go to Bed.” It’s a fitting end to this album. Jimmy’s world is not perfect and there are certainly a number of struggles that he endures in what might be a typical childhood, but he brings to the forefront how even a seemingly happy family life still has a side that might be worth writing about. I’ve certainly seen a lot of albums that detail whiny heartbreak, alcohol and drug abuse, anti-establishment views, and it occurred to me that Jimmy is perhaps sometimes more mature with this material.


Paul Whyte

A South Shore native and University of Wisconsin-Superior journalism graduate. Lifelong musician, and former open mic host. Passionate about the music scene and politics.

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