Jake Owen’s freshest adventure sticks to a hazy and formative concept – an album loaded with open positivity and extended themes of love, heartbreak and rebirth through his own varying perspectives. The record is furnished with huge country fireworks, intended to touch the soul and harbour a smiling warmth. Despite this, the result audibly gathers the listener into a blend of spilling nostalgia alongside a resolute composure vexed by cliche and predictability. Patiently waiting behind spinning positivity and revelling love stories of statewide rural proportions, is Jake Owen’s American Love.
The record houses everything one can hope will be included in album by a chart-topping country musician. Plentiful strains of suffocating bush love poetry catch the attention of thick sentimentality clouds as they waver above melancholy romanticism and Americana fantasy. It’s not all achingly foreseen, however, with songs like LAX reflecting a personable, serious and humble side to Owen’s songwriting. This is, after all, a record comprised of his own love tribulations and musically documented hardship. We get a full sense of his twisting life lessons in tracks like When You Love Someone – a loose piano ballad, resting on a sorrow filled vocal console. “Whether it’s love or its whisky, I guess we’ve both sobered up”, he sings. The record perhaps reverts back to Owen’s deeper, ancestral country roots, serving well to steer away from the previous contemporary concoction of electronic pop-country mixtures employed in his 2013 album, Days Of Gold. Instead, it’s a known, individual and intimate visit across the spectrum of his own idealistic values. VW Van is an ode to the cross country happy workhorse vehicle, whilst the picturesque rural appreciation lyrics in American Country Love Song, transmit the listener to the centre of an amorous sound field.
There’s a questionable force throughout this acoustic country-pop wonderland. Perhaps it’s revisiting this winning formula that’s earned Owen a string of number one singles, that labours as the primary dampening factor. There are a few noteworthy general rough patches on the record, but for the most part, the album serves as a carefree lace over through simplicity and laid-back leisure. It’s a country record detailing the uncomplicated benefits of having a lighthearted and grounded approach to music making. For his own reasons, he does this with a thin blanket of innovation, relying rather on an organ of unquestioned integrity. American Love is the resulted work of a beholden musician, content and satisfied – rolling through songwriting without a shroud of guilt and a wealth of glittering pride.