I admit, I bought this album mainly because I just wanted to look at Jake Owen. There’s just something about the longish hair, the big, bright white smile, the scruffed up look he’s got that I just find hot. I was especially excited after I saw the cover for the single of “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.” I thought ‘he’s going to look so sexy in that blue and I’m going to enjoy every one of the photos.’ As often happens more than not, though, I wound up disappointed. In the booklet there are just two full size photos of Jake along with another page in the booklet that contains some thumbnails in a contact sheet layout. I do have to give him credit though for creating a booklet that is actually tied in somewhat to the theme of the album. The cover and other photos evoke fun summer times outdoors. They get points for going beyond the generic album photos of the artist with a guitar and staring out a window or off in the distance at something.
The music is a little bit generic; each song sounding pretty similar to another, but it is still a good album. The overall sound of the album–exemplified by the title single–is of music you can play when you are hanging out down by the riverside, rocking away with some buds and suds. My favorites tunes trend toward the ones that focus on love and how it can “F” you up.
“Wide awake” is a rocking tune that sings about those nights that we’ve all had thinking about someone who’s gotten into our mind. “Apple Pie Moonshine” is memory song about young love experienced through the shared experience of good times and Apple Pie Moonshine. My favorite line of the lyrics in this song is “her hands in the back pocket of my jeans.” The tune that I really love is “Alone with You.” This song exemplifies the poison of someone that’s only toying with you for their own pleasures, but you still can’t help but want them:
don’t put you lips up to my mouth and tell me you can’t stay/
don’t slip you hand under my shirt and tell me it’s okay/
don’t say it doesn’t matter because its gonna matter to me/
I can be alone with you.
I also like that this tune is one “you can dance to.” Unlike others in this genre, the music moves along at a fast tempo. It’s very smooth and I can picture folks gliding along the dance floor to it.
“Setting the World On Fire” is another one I really enjoy. It tells the story of a young lovers who escape their small town to “set the world on fire.” As can happen after years of traveling from one spot to another one of the lovers says they’ve “had enough of this rambling love” while the other still wants to roam. I like this song so much because it is a bit reflective of me. I’m a bit of a gypsy-type myself; always “chasing down a feeling and running on desire.” This has left more than one “trail of flame” behind me in both a good and bad context.
Unique about “Fire” is there’s no regret by lover who continues to traveling down toward that open road future. I really like that the song plays to those people who are like this; the roamers, the ones who continue to be “too damn hot for any one town to hold.”
Because of these stand-out songs and the general up-tempo of the album I think it’s a good offering from Jake–much more so than his second album, Easy Does It. The music works both as something you can play crusin’ in the car or hanging out on the weekend when you want to fill up the background with sound, but not distract your attention, and as something that when you really want to focus your attention on it, captures you with some of sublte wow of the lyrics and music.