Review – Jake Owen’s “American Country Love Song”

Jake Owen Generic Country Love Song

Are you even trying anymore, Jake? I ask this half in jest, but half me is serious when asking this question. It’s well-known of course that Jake Owen made his bread and butter on summer, party songs. “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” and “Beachin'” is what put Owen on the radar for several country music fans and took his stardom to another level. But after all of this success he started talking about making more quality music and he appeared to put his money where his mouth was when he released “What We Ain’t Got” as a single. It was critically acclaimed, yet didn’t do much at radio and didn’t really sell well either. So obviously he went back to the cliché well and released “Real Life” as a single. Not only did I rip it apart, but it bombed even worse than “What We Ain’t Got” at radio. So after two singles failed to perform to expectations at radio, Owen returns with a new single, “American Country Love Song.”

If you took one look at the title and rolled your eyes, I don’t blame you. Written by Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley and Jaren Johnston, “American Country Love Song” is about as predictable as it sounds. There’s really no theme to the song. It’s a giant checklist song about America, summer and every other cliché that country radio has beat us over the head with over the last five to seven years. There’s Daytona Beach, pretty girls, blue eyes, trucks, American flags, fireworks and other summer-y themes throughout the song. The best way to describe this song is Kenny Chesney’s “American Kids” meets Owen’s previous mega-hit “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” minus the catchy instrumentation of those two songs. Those other songs weren’t much better in avoiding typical country clichés, but the instrumentation made it okay. The instrumentation on this song simmers somewhere between half-baked and safe. Whatever you want to call it, I would say it’s boring and uninteresting. Oh and Owen is still doing spoken word. I don’t feel like rehashing why this is terrible, but if you want to see why just read this review.

Jake Owen is set to release a new album sometime this year and based off the first two singles, I’m not really looking forward to it. The goodwill he built up with me when he released “What We Ain’t Got” as a single has long evaporated and at this point in time I view his music as a big waste of time. Keep in mind this is not on commentary on him as a person, but solely as an artist and the outputting of his music. Owen had a chance to lead the way in bringing back substance to country radio, but instead he would rather play it safe and go for hits. “American Country Love Song” is perfect for you…if you happen to be Walmart or another corporation looking for a generic country song for an upcoming summer commercial. In fact that should have been the title of this single: “Generic Country Love Song.”

Grade: 3/10

11 thoughts on “Review – Jake Owen’s “American Country Love Song”

  1. Bob Loblaw March 15, 2016 / 11:13 am

    The single art is almost an exact copy of Faith Hill’s “American Heart”. I’m not sure why this was the one thing that stuck out to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nadia Lockheart March 15, 2016 / 12:15 pm

    What is it with Jake Owen and trying to impersonate Shawn Mullins as a vocalist over these past three years?!!!

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    At this point, Owen’s credibility is pretty much spent entirely in light of creative decisions such as this despite overtures to the contrary; where he said on record:

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    “I said, ‘Look, guys … we have to do something that will change the perception of us a little bit, because otherwise why would we do this? This isn’t gonna change our lives unless we do something great,’”

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    Then, of course, he said in December 2013:

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    “I don’t mean to sound negative. I love country music right now, it’s awesome. But I’m guilty of it, too. We all have songs that we’re tending to put out because they’re working and it’s helping our careers. But songs like ‘The Thunder Rolls’ or John Michael Montgomery’s ‘Life’s a Dance,’ they were songs that meant something to people. You don’t hear a lot of those songs anymore….People were like, that’s real. There are so many songs now, and I have them, too, that are [about] sunshine, blue eyes, a tan. That’s not always real to everyone all the time. Or passing moonshine jars around. People do that when they’re kids, but people also grow up. . . . It’s important to have all kinds of songs.”

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    So………………………..how does this song succeed to change the perception of you, Jake? How is this song great?

    I’ll give it one thing: it’s supremely catchy and radio-ready. He and his creative team certainly didn’t fail in that respect. This is a bona-fide #1 waiting to happen.

    But at what cost?

    Granted, there are no lines that are cringe-worthy a la “Real Life”, “Beachin'” or “Eight Second Ride” here. But there is no shortage of government cheese in terms of quality (or lack thereof) here either. From an entire second verse that smacks as derivative of Luke Bryan’s “Play It Again”, to the obvious attempt at spoken word-singing as a nod to the Sam Hunt trend, to the obligatory “Hey cheerleaders and quarterbacks, cowboys and country girls all around this small town world! Can I get another amen and hell yeah?” stab at forced populism a la Lee Brice’s “Drinking Class” and Toby Keith’s “Drunk Americans”……………………….just smacks as soulless and shamelessly written-by-committee. It’s just a Frankenstein-esque amalgamation of spare parts from a handful of other recent hit songs reconfigured.

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    So, yeah: this certainly isn’t terrible a la “Real Life”, “Beachin” and “Eight Second Ride”…………………….but this is still quite an artistic regression for Owen and underscores just how shattered his credibility altogether is now.

    I’m thinking a Strong 3 to a Light 4 for this one: with most of the score more a reflection of how infectious the song is and that it at least avoids cringe-inducing moments than actually being something worth listening to repeatedly.

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  3. Chase March 31, 2016 / 1:24 pm

    Jake Owen’s best music in my opinion was his first two albums (Easy Does It and Startin’ With Me). He has been on a downward spiral for a while now in my opinion.

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