Monday, May 9, 2011

Jake Owen, "Barefoot Blue Jean Night"

Songwriters:  Eric Paslay, Dylan Altman, Terry Sawchuk

Jake, I hate to break this to you, but Rascal Flatts already did this.  So did Jack Ingram.  And Brad Paisley.  But maybe you realized that.  Maybe you realized that another song about hot girls and cold beer is about as unique and memorable as a speck of dirt.  You had to know that you weren't going to make any lasting impression with those lyrics.  Maybe that's why you went for all-out cheesiness instead.

With a cacophony of echoing whoa-oa-oas and robotic hand claps, "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" is easily bad enough to make the listener physically cringe on the first listen.  Purists have often complained that modern mainstream country sounds like bad eighties pop, but it's almost eerie to hear a song that fits the description this perfectly.  Thus, instead of evoking feelings of youthful nostalgia, "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" only leave an extremely bad taste in your mouth.

"Barefoot Blue Jean Night" is another calculated effort to capitalize on country radio's annual obsession with summer songs. Like most of its fellow summer songs, its lyrics don't delve much deeper than the requisite references to hot girls and cold beer.  But summer songs are not inherently evil.  The right amount of cleverness and personality can be just the right thing to get listeners in the summertime party mood (see "Redneck Yacht Club").  There's no personality here - The track sounds like business as usual, but with an extra layer of bad taste.

"Barefoot Blue Jean Night" tosses out cleverness in favor of the generic, aiming only to fit in comfortably between all the other summer songs on radio playlists.  This leaves the finished product feeling like a clumsy grasp at commercial success, and a lazily thrown-together mashup of random ingredients.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)