By James Barker, Staff Writer
When T.J. Osborne came out back in February, I started to take a particular interest in Brothers Osborne’s music. Their first new song since then, “Younger Me,” did not disappoint.
Written by T.J. as a letter to his younger self, following coming out, Osborne said about the song: “I’ve always wished I could speak to my younger self, give him a hug and show him who he’d become and what he’d achieve. Once I came out, that feeling was so overwhelmingly strong that this song was born”.
“Younger Me” blends relatable country storytelling with anthemic pop (with catchy 80s synth vibes beautifully juxtaposed with the guitars). This is all brought together seamlessly by Osborne’s emotive voice, with just enough inflection to convey feeling, whilst allowing the lyrics to shine.
The song is a refreshing take on country music nostalgia. Sometimes these kinds of songs will look back fondly on their childhood and simpler times, and the present is either presented as hard or having lost its innocence along the way. “Younger Me” is a different kind of story.
The song perfectly encapsulates a more compelling kind of nostalgia that does not rewrite the complexities and confusion of childhood: “Overthinking, losing sleep at night / contemplating if it’s worth the fight”. The lyrics are crisp and vital, evoking specific details (“To pace a bedroom floor”), and are wonderfully free of cliché. For Brothers’ Osborne, the future hold both threat and possibility, and the past contains both hurt and experiences from which to learn and grow.
Brothers Osborne’s music has always had a broad appeal amongst pop and country fans, and “Younger Me” perfects this balance. This is a dazzling pop anthem if ever I heard one, yet the sharp storytelling proves that Osborne is a bona fide country songwriter too.
T.J. Osborne is gay and proud with this song and shows that it is possible not only to be queer in country music, but also to celebrate these aspects of ourselves. “Younger Me” is the perfect embrace that a queer kid might need, a Pride anthem for this year, and is perhaps Brothers Osborne’s finest song yet.