Unfortunately, joining the Big Loud Records team has made Owen's music even more watered down than it was before. "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)" may have what it takes to propel Owen back to the top of the charts, but it is by no means a good song.
The reasons as to why that is are fairly clear too. For one, Owen joined back up with producer Joey Moi for this song, which explains why the chorus sounds like one giant blob of generic electric guitars and a banjo that ultimately makes Owen fight to be heard. His latest past singles may have had more of a funky Reggae vibe to them, but at least they had more color than whatever this is.
Lyrically, you'd expect a song referencing the famous John Mellancamp song to feature at least another reference beyond the title. Heck, even Rae Sremmurd managed to sneak a reference in to the Beatles' "Day Tripper" on "Black Beatles." Unfortunately, this song is one long lazy summer romance song. Mentions of every single past cliche you could think of for a Country song in the past couple years are here. Whereas "Jack and Diane" actually had some details to it and was about something, this has none of those elements.
Then again, if you couldn't be bothered to actually listen to the lyrics, I couldn't blame you. Why Owen has insisted on his this obnoxious talk-rap singing style for three singles of his now is beyond me. It's unneeded, distracting, and completely unnecessary, especially when Owen can't rap all that well (most Country artists can't).
In short, "I Was Jack" is simply more of the same generic fodder we've come to expect from Owen over the past couple of years. Owen once shined at making these easy-going feel good tunes, and now he's either putting me to sleep with them or making me cringe at his delivery. This song may have Mellancamp's own seal of approval, but it doesn't have mine.
Listen: "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)"
Author: Zackary Kephart