Jake Owen knows what his audience wants. With hair women envy and dimples deep enough to fall into, he’s perfected the pretty boy, gone country boy look. He’s done the same with his latest album, Barefoot Blue Jean Night. Owen paid song writers to masked some shallow words with an acoustic guitar, in an attempt to make listeners believe the Florida native spent summer days on a combine. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I could listen to him sing the Hokey Pokey as long as the tune is still coming from that Crest commercial mouth of his.
His hit single, Barefoot Blue Jean Night, was a beach, bonfire, and boat beat that was burned onto everybody’s “Summer 2011 Fav Songz” mix CD. With that as the highlight of his album, the rest of the songs were a bit of a let down. The songs are sweet and forgettable. The feel good, cutesy lyrics are ideal material the a last minute Valentine’s Day CD for your junior high girlfriend.
Keepin’ It Country, Wide Awake, and Anywhere With You are interchangeable. The chorus of their mashup would be as creative as a Mad Lib:
I want to be with you. Let’s go to _____ (pick a state) and we’ll be ______ (synonym for happy) forever. I only need you and a ______ (alcohol beverage) for the rest of my life. You’re prettier than _______ (exotic location). (Then sing “same old, same old, same old” for as long as you can).
Apple Pie Moonshine and Heaven have the story element that I’m a sucker for, and Settin’ The World On Fire is as original as it’s name, and lacks the inspirational “it” factor that I was hoping for.
Now, maybe it’s because I’m not currently head over heels and in love with the man of my dreams, but my favorite track on the album is the only one that doesn’t sound like it’s taking place in a movie scripted dream world. Alone With You has a different sound, feel, and message than the rest. The pain and fresh vulnerability are raw and refreshing. Rarely, do we hear the man admit that a woman has control over his heart, even after they’re long over.
His classic good looks didn’t transfer into a classic album, but I’d like to see Owen find his “owen” voice and climb the charts with the next one. Until then, I’ll hang his poster in my room and listen to a different drawl.