This is one of those singles that just works. Yes, the lyrics are basic. Yes, there's some semi-rapping/spoken word stuff going on here. Yes, the production isn't fully country. But it just works. It has an 'it' factor about it, and "American Country Love Song" has a lot going for itself. The melody is (particularly throughout the course) is as strong as you'll find on a mainstream country single. The production, despite being a little overbearing in the chorus, has some edge and some flash to it and is, overall, fairly enjoyable despite failing to utilize any traditional country elements. What really makes the record, is Owen's natural charisma, which is on full display here. Unlike "Beachin'" (Owen's last major hit), where he comes across as a cheerful beach fanatic but does so in an obnoxious matter, he sounds fully convincing and full of energy.
The lyrics are by far the weak point here, as they fail to go beyond a list style description of a small town summer, though they come across as above-average relative to other summer love anthems (hardly a high bar to scale, albeit). Overall, this won't break ground, it won't top any year-end lists, and won't take home any songwriting hardware, but for what it is, a catchy, likable summertime tune, it works. Guilty pleasure? Perhaps, but as far as shallow, anthemic earworms go, this one more than satisfies.
Hey Markus! (And all of you TICM readers!) It's good to be back. You know, it doesn't seem like two people can have a reasonable discussion about things they disagree with these days. I think it's easier to be more open to the other side than we think, which is why Markus picked a song we disagreed on to discuss today. It's not really meant to be a debate per se, just a way of two people seeing each other's opinion and respecting it.
I can sort of understand all of your points Markus. As somebody who thinks that Jake Owen is one of the few artists that can pull off a "bro" summery sound, I want to like a song like "American Country Love Song". I don't know if Sam Hunt actually started the whole trend of talking while singing, but it sure as heck is more noticeable these days. I can honestly barely get through the verses because of this. I do agree that it kicks up a notch in terms of melody when it gets to the chorus. Being a summer song, I'm not going to be as hard on the lyrics here as I probably should be, but even still it's just way too generic for my personal tastes. There's a way to make these sort of songs work, and even Owen's natural charisma seems to be missing here for me.
Even still, I've always like Jake, and I think that he could pulling an ol' "Dierks Bentley" on us. What I mean by this is that Jake could potentially just be sending out this song to appease radio (because let's face it, "Real Life" did him no favors). Maybe he's setting up to send more substance to radio. We're slowly getting more of it (even if the songs that have it aren't usually the ones that do well). I could totally be wrong but who knows. Still, as much as I've criticized this song it's not the worst thing out there. It's just not Jake's best work. I totally see the appeal in this song, I just wish it appealed to me.