Jake Owen’s sound has come a long way from his diverse 2009 hits “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” and “Eight Second Ride,” the former of which is a slow love song and the latter a full-bodied bro country rocker. But in the past seven years, Owen has almost blended those sounds together to embody a feel-good, loving-life vibe that the singer has branded himself with ever since his breakthrough No. 1 hit, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” (which makes sense, as he is a native of Florida). His latest project, “American Love,” continues the singer’s feel-good trend and picks up where his last two albums left off – highlighting the simple joys of life.
“There are a lot of things on this record that have been said before, but it is the feeling of the songs, the sonic nature of them and the lyrics that will make it different than what people have heard before,” Owen said in a press release about the album. “I feel a real connection to these songs.”
“American Love” begins with the title track, with the opening notes giving off an instantly refreshing vibe – almost as if you’re cracking open an ice cold can of Coke on a hot summer’s day. The song incorporates a jazzy feel to it with the presence of vibrant trumpets, making it an upbeat way to kickoff the album. The opening track is followed by the thoughtful “After Midnight,” which has the narrator singing about the age-old phrase that tells us nothing good happens after the midnight hour, with Owen proposing that “maybe midnight’s just misunderstood,” as it allows young love to flourish.
His motto of living life to the fullest comes in full force on “Everybody Dies Young,” a positive song that aims to bring us all together by proclaiming that life is too short to do anything but enjoy the speical moments we’re given. The party continues with the beachy “VW Van,” with Owen calling anyone and everyone to “free your hillbilly gypsy soul” and pile into his classic VW ride (we’re guessing it’s the gorgeous vintage mint green one featured on the album’s cover) on a trip that could take the travelers anywhere, all while featuring a reggae sound to match. The singer slows the vibe on “LAX” that has Owen crooning about the LA girl that stole – and broke – his heart on a track that features the soulful sound similar to that of a steel guitar in the background, reminiscent of an old country heartbreak song.
He continues the somber tone with “When You Love Someone,” which features nothing but a soft piano and Owen’s melancholy plea to a cheating lover that going too far with someone else is the opposite of the song’s title. Beautiful back up vocals from hit songwriter Hillary Lindsey help bring the track to life while still emphasizing its sorrowful character. The album picks up the energy with the final two tracks. “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” has Owen singing to a lost lover about how no matter where he goes, her spirit is inescapable. The album’s current single “American Country Love Song” brings the project back to where we started, with a bro-country anthem that gives a shout out to all the things bros sing about best: beer, America and young love, making it a fitting way to close out the lively album.
It’s clear that Owen has a strong way of incorporating his upbeat and laid back personality throughout the album as a whole. Owen has a special gift of transporting the listener to a happy place where you feel like you’re driving along a California beach with the windows rolled down, hair blowing in the wind and hand out the window coasting along with the ocean breeze. The feel-good, lovin’ life attitude works for him, as his positive spirit shines through in the music that is just as sunny as his demeanor.
“American Love” hits shelves today. For more information, visit Owen’s official site.