A self-proclaimed military brat with no hometown roots, Colbein describes this song as “a joyful cry.” The topic itself isn’t pretty, but the song is upbeat and maintains high energy throughout. According to Colbein, the inspiration for this track came from realizing he was glad he’d been broken up with.
“I was in Stockholm & my boyfriend at the time called me—it started off as a normal FaceTime call and all of a sudden it switched and he broke up with me in an instant,” Colbein tells American Songwriter. “It didn’t take me long however to realize how happy I was it was over though, throughout the entire relationship I would tiptoe around him and do anything he’d ask because I was infatuated with him… I would literally let him be mean to me cuz of what he meant to me.. hence the lyric at the beginning of the hook, You know I’d let you be mean to me cuz of what you mean to me, who else is gonna do that… when I flew back into LA it was the first song I wrote.”
That first line of the hook is also Colbein’s favorite line in “Mean To Me”, as it truly encapsulates the story and experience behind the song. Sharing stories from his life is really the point behind Colbein’s music—his songs are his diary.
“It’s less of a message and more of an experience. I wanted to show what I have gone through in my human experience. Honestly, my music isn’t really for anyone else at all. It’s a musical journal of my own experience,” says Colbein.
“Mean To Me” appears on Colbein’s latest album, Transitions, which came out in January of 2021. The seven-song album is made of traditionally pop-sounding songs with raw and honest lyrics about relationships and personal struggles. The final track on the album also features rapper pineappleCITI.
Colbein’s favorite aspect of songwriting is how therapeutic it can be, but some of his best songwriting occurs when he’s in a good headspace.
“What I love most about songwriting is the therapy it brings. It is literally the only way I can fully express how I am feeling to anyone,” said Colbein. “I write my best when I am not struggling. When life is seemingly floating by. I tend to write better songs outside of the city I live in as well.”
Check out the video for “Mean To Me” below. Photos courtesy of Brandon Colbein.
Photo courtesy of Brandon Colbein.