Lori McKenna Releases the Poignant “When You’re My Age”
Country music is about community, storytelling, honesty, and someone else having the words when you’re at a loss for them. Sometimes, in a world and industry that moves so quickly, ideas that are simple get lost. Lori McKenna has always exhibited this elegant simplicity through her music, and her new release reflects just that.
“When You’re My Age” is a gorgeous, guitar-driven message from McKenna to her children and the next generation. “When you’re my age, I hope the world is kinder than it seems to be right now,” she sings on the opening line. She continues to list things she hopes will change: she hopes that news is more uplifting, and she hopes things are as simple as it was for her as a child. “When I was your age, things didn’t seem this hard,” she states before the chorus.
McKenna wrote this song with the Love Junkies, which is comprised of herself, Hillary Lindsey, and Liz Rose. The trio composed the song during a write that was heading south. “I was on the other side of the room. I was playing the piano,” Mckenna told Rolling Stone. “I started singing something and Liz had never heard it before and was singing along with me… She knows me so well she knew what I was going to say. I had no chorus. I didn’t know what to do with it. She started singing the chorus but we had no hook. Hillary says, ‘Well, this is terrible but it could be this.’ As soon as she said it we all cried like babies. To me, that was magical.” The end of the chorus is incredibly poignant: “You’re still gonna be my baby, when you’re my age,” she sings to her children. The Love Junkies joined McKenna on the final recording and they sing beautifully in harmony on the chorus.
Something that’s always made McKenna stand out is her ability to write classics. Some songs may not be the ones to go #1, but they’re the slow burn, the ones that live on well after, and don’t burn out. Her music and her stories are long-lasting. She is the cornerstone of people’s lives and stories, and this song is no different. No matter how fast we outgrow things, like shoes, beds, and childhood homes, as McKenna states in the song, we can’t stop the time from passing.
“When You’re My Age” was chosen to be Jostens’ “virtual commencement” song for the class of 2020 graduates this year. “As a songwriter, but even more as a mom of a high school senior, I’m so honored to offer up a song for the Class of 2020,” McKenna told the brand. “I love that Jostens is making a special salute to this year’s high school and college graduates. It’s an unprecedented time and these graduates deserve the best celebration possible.”
I am one of the high-school seniors that don’t get to graduate this year. This song feels especially poignant given the time we live in. I’ve spent a great deal of time mourning the loss of certain rites of passage. While I’m just lucky to be safe, it’s hard to let go of the things one is missing out on. I’ve always been told that these are the days. That my childhood and youth is something to hold on to for as long as possible. It’s hard to be able to dream these days. When I sat down and listened to this song, something shifted within me. I realized, and hoped, that by the time I was McKenna’s age, or simply a little older and wiser, that I would have enough life under my belt to reminisce even on these unprecedented times. I hope that when I listen back to this song, things have changed in the world for the better.
This is the time to take a minute and slow down. To sit down and listen to a song – really listen, not put it on when you’re washing dishes or folding laundry – and when you take the time to do that, listen to this song. Lori McKenna is one of the great American songwriters of this generation. We are lucky to have her stories to represent our own.
To keep up with Lori Mckenna, you can find her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
“When You’re My Age” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
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