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ToC Critic’s Pick: Brothers Osborne, ’21 Summer’ [Listen]

21 Summer Cover Art Critic's Pick
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

“21 Summer” is the song from Brothers Osborne’s Pawn Shop album that stings. It’s lead singer TJ Osborne at his most earnest. Seriously, if the girl slipping off those cutoff jeans isn’t his own bittersweet summer memory, he should consider theater.

Lyrically, it’s all chorus after a first verse that brushes a few colorful details on the canvas. The Osborne brothers wrote “21 Summer” with Craig Wiseman, and together the trio tell a relatable, accessible story by relying on all five senses. One almost smells the warm rain that’s about to burst through dark clouds that mark the end of this love.

Like Keith Urban’s “’Til Summer Comes Around,” this new single from Pawn Shop takes a few listens to appreciate. While John Osborne’s guitar work isn’t featured as prominently on “21 Summer” as it was on “Stay a Little Longer,” the arrangement is significant. At times Jay Joyce’s production is almost orchestral — this song is the antitheses of several raw, garage-rock country songs on their debut, like “Rum” and the title track.

TJ Osborne carries the song, however. “21 Summer” is his most dynamic performance yet, and the first time one truly senses his vulnerabilities.

Listen to Brothers Osborne, “21 Summer”

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Brothers Osborne, “21 Summer” Lyrics:

“Now and then I think about you now and then / When I see that Chevrolet, that certain shade of blue / I hear that song, the one we sang all summer long / And even though its been so long it brings me back / Right back to you.”

“I hope you find the storm that you were chasing / I hope your eyes are still full of dreams / As they were that night when you slipped off those cut off jeans / When I hear the sound of high tide thunder / I can see your hair blowing in the breeze / I think about how you and that 21 summer made a man of me / Yeah you made a man of me.”

“How you been I’d love to hear ‘bout how you’ve been / You’re the only broken heart I’ve ever had and love to have again.”

Next: See the Top 40 Country Songs of February 2016

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