The Wichitan’s Song of the Week: “Something in the Orange (Z&E) Version”


Country artist Zach Bryan uses a Leica film camera to capture photos and posts them to his social media, 2023. Photo courtesy of Zach Bryan.

Welcome back to this week’s edition of the Wichitan’s Song of the Week. This week’s pick is “Something In The Orange (Z&E) Version” by Japanese-born singer-songwriter Zach Bryan. Released April 22, 2022 as a studio single and then as the second track on his third studio album “American Heartbreak,” “Something in the Orange (Z&E) Version” is a narration of a toxic and doomed relationship that Zach Bryan was in. In the song, Zach Bryan talks about the pain he went through during and after the relationship and how regardless of that, He still misses her. He also sings about how he understands that his former lover left him but he still holds on to the idea that she will eventually come back. Zach Bryan goes back to the traditional style of story-telling typically associated with country music on his album, “American Heartbreak” and “Something in the Orange (Z&E) Version” is a perfect example of that.

"American Heartbreak comes in as Zach Bryan's third studio album, 2022. Photo courtesy of Warner Records.
“American Heartbreak comes in as Zach Bryan’s third studio album, 2022. Photo courtesy of Warner Records.

Born in Okinawa, Japan but raised in Oologah, Oklahoma, Zachary Lane Bryan is an award-winning and nominated country singer-songwriter best known for either his viral song, “Heading South” which he credits as the reason for his success or his award-winning album, “American Heartbreak” which is the first country album to ever make the top ten list for Billboard’s Top 100 within a few days of its release. Growing up in a small town in Oklahoma, Zach Bryan didn’t have a strong inclination for music or the arts and it wasn’t well into his teen years that he discovered his love for music. Being born into a military family, Zach Bryan never saw himself having a music career. Right after highschool at the age of 17, he joined the United States Navy and it wasn’t till October 14, 2021 that he was honorably discharged by the Navy so he can pursue his career in music. At the 2023 Grammy Awards during his red carpet interview, he dedicated his entire music career to his family and friends. He also talked about how all of his albums are an opportunity to tell a different part of his life experiences. His entire discography has always been heavily influenced by his life experiences and the stylistic choices of past country music stars and “Something in the Orange (Z&E) Version” is a continuation of that.

“Something in the Orange (Z&E) Version” is my favorite song from the album and my second favorite from Zach Bryan’s discography after “From Austin.” In “Something in the Orange (Z&E) Version” Bryan sings about a time in his life when he was in a toxic relationship. He tells us about how badly she treated him during the relationship and he feels like she never truly loved him. He sings of his “deep hatred” for her. Bryan also narrates in detail all of the painful memories he experienced during and after the relationship. He describes it as “poisonous” and “confusing.” Finally, Bryan acknowledges that although the relationship was bad and he feels like she deserted him, he still cares for her and wants her back. He compares his faith in her return with the setting of the sun and the color orange. Bryan released two versions of the song. The normal version and the “Z&E” version. The former is softer and features a piano and low-down strings and is supposed to represent the feeling of hope. It was produced and mixed by Ryan Hadlock at Bear Creek Studio in Washington State; the latter is bold and features percussion, a harmonica and guitar strumming and it is supposed to represent Bryan’s anger. It was produced and mixed by Eddie Spear (hence the “Z&E” which stands for Zach and Eddie) at Electric Lady Studio in New York City.

As stated in previous editions of the Song of the Week, lyricism is an important aspect of any song and Zach Bryan understood that when writing “Something in the Orange (Z&E) Version.” In “Something in the Orange (Z&E) Version,” Bryan utilizes storytelling and metaphor to narrate a very difficult time in his life. My favorite lyric in the entire song is:

“If you leave today, I’ll just stare at the way

The orange touches all things around

The grass, trees and dew, how I just hate you

Please turn those headlights around.”

Toxic relationships is a topic that doesn’t get talked about alot. In “Something in the Orange (Z&E) Version,” Zach Bryan gives an account of his experience in relation to toxic relationships. He creates a platform to discuss such a complex topic. The song is a great listen with a powerful message.