Corey Smith, ‘Twenty-One’ – Lyrics Uncovered
Corey Smith’s latest single, ‘Twenty-One,’ is all about the anticipation of reaching that special age where a fake I.D. and embellishing the truth are no longer necessary.
“When I was only 17 / I couldn’t wait for 21 / I’d hang around on Clayton Street, in the bars there getting drunk / A baseball cap and fake I.D. would get me in the clubs / Then I would dance with the college girls / And lie about who I was,” Smith sings in the lyrics of the song’s opening verse.
“When I was still teaching about eight years ago, I was playing at this little bar named Mike’s,” Smith tells Taste of Country of the where the song’s inspiration came from. “It’s still there. I used to play downstairs there and have friends come. I had a gig set up and I knew my friends from high school and college would be there. I thought, you know … I really want to have a song that’s our song. I sat down a few days before the show in this little office that was in our little house at the time, and the song just sort of came out. I never had any dreams of it being heard by a large audience; I was truly just writing it for my friends and myself. So I was very specific about things [I wrote in the song], and I played it at the gig several nights later. Everybody was just really moved by it. It was really special, and the cool thing is how much it has translated beyond my little group of friends. It helped me realize there are people that grew up just like us, and have the same concerns as us and the same memories as us, all over the place.”
As the song goes on, Smith realizes that he wishes he was 21 at times, but for different reasons: “We drink until we feel a whole lot cooler than we are / Then I look at all those college girls, so innocent and young / I check them out and say, ‘Damn, I wish I was 21.”
“It’s pretty dead on,” Smith says of the song being autobiographical. “I made a few changes for the version that is on the album. We wrote the third verse, and I had said things like ‘Now I’m only 26, feeling more like 43.’ It’s sort of an error in writing to be that specific where I can’t sing that every night and it still feel the same as it should. It needs to feel real. So I feel like the rewrite was necessary and a step in the right direction. It’s more honest than it was.”
‘Twenty-One’ is the first single from Smith’s fifth album, slated for release on June 21.