Written by Kendell Marvel, Josh Osborne, and TJ Osborne
The challenges we face when we are younger shape us into the older and hopefully wiser person that we eventually become. Sometimes, those struggles seem unnecessary in retrospect, but if we don’t experience them, would we still ultimately become the person we are today?
That’s the dichotomy explored in “Younger Me,” the powerful new single from Brothers Osborne. It’s clearly shaped by TJ Osborne’s recent decision to publicly announce his homosexuality, which is a courageous thing to do within the confines of mainstream country music. But his specific experience informs the spirit of the song without explicitly informing the lyric, which can be universally applied to all of us folks of a certain age, wishing we could tell our younger selves not to worry so much, but also knowing that those worries strengthened our spines and cultivated our self-determination.
It leads to this profound realization, which hit me hard:
Youth ain’t wasted on the young
These trips around the sun
I needed every one
To get where I’m standing now
There’s a tendency in our society to almost fetishize youth, as if it’s the ideal time of life and it’s all downhill from there. But that’s not really true, at least as far as I’m concerned. I appreciate who I was back then but it was a less fully realized version of myself that I wouldn’t want to go back to. I’ve seen too much and learned too much since then. “Younger Me” is pretty much what I’d tell younger me, and I appreciate who beautifully the sentiment is articulated.
One of the reasons I’m more optimistic for country music than I’ve been in a long time is that there are more artists that seem interested in making music for grownups again, rather than encouraging some endless state of arrested development. This will be one of the best singles released this year, for sure. It’s nice hearing a country record that I’m not too old to relate to.