The Real Meaning Behind Zach Bryan's Something In The Orange

In 2022, Zach Bryan emerged as a country superstar after his heartbreak ballad, "Something in the Orange," took over TikTok. The song, which is the second track on his 2022 album, "American Heartbreak," became a No. 1 country hit and peaked at the 10th slot on the Billboard Hot 100, too. Bryan probably could not have anticipated how the tune would radically change his life and career when he wrote it alone one night in a Wisconsin cabin.

So, why have music fans gravitated toward the song so much? It comes down to Bryan's visceral storytelling and the vulnerability in both his lyrics and vocals. In "Something in the Orange," the Navy veteran sings about the slow and painful process of a relationship coming to an end. He uses "the orange," a.k.a. the sun or the sunset, to beautifully express his desire to make it work with someone existing alongside his feeling of utter hopelessness.

The song tells a devastating story

In "Something in the Orange," Zach Bryan processes a relationship ending because one person is much more invested than the other. Bryan tries to convince a lover to stay with him in the song's opening: "It'll be fine by dusk light, I'm telling you, baby." Even though he's asking the person out loud to hang on, he already knows somewhere within himself that things are as good as over. The songwriter reflects more on that truth later in the lines, "I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't / 'Cause if I say I miss you, I know that you won't." 

He repeatedly articulates how insignificant he feels in the relationship compared to his partner. In the second verse, Bryan describes being dazzled by the orange in the person's eyes, directly comparing them to the sun since he refers to the sun as the orange throughout the entire song. "To you, I'm just a man / To me, you're all that I am," he expresses that overwhelming feeling more explicitly a few lines after. The melancholy chords and the rawness of Bryan's vocals bring the heart-wrenching tale to life and, unsurprisingly, leave listeners deeply moved.

The significance of orange

It turns out Zach Bryan was thinking about the color orange because he was spending time in nature and appreciating the sky. "Everyone thinks it was over some deep, dark thing, and it was just me in a cabin in Wisconsin," Bryan said about the tune, per American Songwriter. "I thought about the word 'orange,' and I was watching the sunset, and I was like, 'Oh, that's a cool story to tell in a song.'" Of course, the soul-stirring song sounds a lot more profound than just a glimpse outside; the sun began as a simple muse but wound up serving as a catalyst for Bryan to work through his emotions through poetic writing. In fact, some fans have speculated the song might have been inspired by Bryan's short-lived marriage.

Since the "Heading South" singer was inspired by watching the orange disappear from view, the color and sunset might represent having no control over hope and partnership slipping away from your grasp. The singer croons in the hook, "I poisoned myself again / Something in the orange tells me you're never coming home." He has to sit back and watch as a life-altering love fades away.