Ever watch How I Met Your Mother, dear readers? In what seems to be a theme of break up related things, I am now writing another post about breaking up. Breaking up is hard to do, after all.
There is this episode of How I Met Your Mother called Nothing Good Happens After 2 AM, that comes to mind for me in this moment. I won’t go into detail on it, but essentially Ted is invited over to visit a drunk and down Robin, but he is conflicted about it because he still is in a relationship with Victoria, his long-distance girlfriend.
The statute of limitations on spoilers is the same as news at this point if you’ve never seen the show, but I’m a gentleman, so you’ve been warned.
Essentially Ted does the bad thing, hooks up with Robin, and it has repercussions for more than just him. And of course, the challenge is whether it really is true that nothing good happens after 2 AM or if it’s mere perception.
Surprise, surprise, this week’s music review features an artist who has a song about this, and more importantly, love.
Jake Owen – American Love
released July 29, 2016
Joshua Ryan Owen, better known by his stage name, Jake Owen, is an American country musician. He has released 5 studio albums over the course of a eleven year career with RCA Nashville. Apparently the reason he changed his stage name to Jake is to avoid confusion with Josh Turner and Josh Gracin.
How is a guy supposed to stand up for himself if he can’t even keep his first name? Well I guess he just has to make good music and carry a torch for something worth listening to.
American Love is Owen’s response to a year of trauma and difficulty. Seasoned with sweetness and outdoor themes, the lyrics underneath are rather bittersweet as you start to sit with everything for longer than a single listening session.
Yes, it is wholly optimistic, with a feel-good impression, but the dude just went through a pretty intense divorce and had to jump-start this record after a failed launch of original lead single Real Life, which is nowhere to be found on the album.
Instead it is replaced by upbeat tunes like American Love, Everybody Dies Young, VW Van, and Good Company. Then we get into the real meat and potatoes of the album with LAX, If He Ain’t Gonna Love You, and When You Love Someone, which are all emotionally wraught and showcase Owen’s heartbreaking method of the blues. I mean this is a country album after all, it can all be smiles and unicorns.
When we finally get to the bookend with American Country Love Song, which is currently climbing the country music charts, and it fits in nicely with the rest of Owen’s previous work. So maybe an upbeat note isn’t a terrible thing to leave on, but I’m less impressed by this then the rest of the back half of the album.
I think part of the problem comes from the fact that when Owen started this album, he was still married and in a much different place, then all of a sudden he was single again, and had to sort through his shit. So his team and him attempted to salvage what they could, and then he got some support to create something meaningful.
After all, the album is about love, just not the head-over-heels, infatuation version of it.
But it feels odd to have a typically upbeat and summer music artist tackling heavier themes and jumping back and forth between theme. Yes, the love theme is consistent, but I almost would rather he pick one tone and stuck with it OR found a way to transition from each tone to the next in a more organic way.
Jake Owen pokes fun at the notion that nothing good after happens after midnight, on the eponymous track, but deep down he knows that nostalgia is it’s own kind of love drug. Wrapped up in the past is one way to live, pretending your pain isn’t there, but we all need to work through these things, so that we can become the best version of ourselves, whether we pair up or go it alone.
After all, it should be about love. But that’s just a theory.