Songwriters: Catt Gravitt, J.T. Harding, Shane McAnally
In a career whose output has largely been dominated by antiseptic radio fodder, Jake Owen’s recent hit “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” found him finally being able to pander successfully, with the song becoming his first number-one hit. Follow-up release “Alone with You” swaps out the good-time vibe of its predecessor for a much darker mood, as its lyrical narrator tries to avoid falling for a woman who desires only physical intimacy, having no intentions of remaining in a committed relationship.
As “Alone with You” begins, the melody is so monotonous and plodding that it’s almost grating. But as he gets further along in the “Need You Now”-esque ballad, the tone takes on increased urgency. Owen sings in an almost pleading manner as he delivers the chorus: “Don’t put your lips up to my mouth and tell me it’s okay… Don’t slip your hand under my shirt and tell me it’s okay.” Unfortunately, the song’s title hook – “I can’t be alone with you” – is so rote and unimaginative that it falls perfectly flat.
Then the second verse rolls around, and that same boring melody resurfaces once more, while the heavy production all but snuffs out the traces of vulnerability in Owen’s delivery. With the overall package being weighed down by an excess of blandness, it’s unfortunate that the song’s strongest qualities are largely confined to its chorus, as I can’t recommend a song by virtue of a good chorus alone.
Ultimately, that’s all the song really is – a good chorus in want of a good song to call home. While “Alone with You” is still a discernible step up from the insipid “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” it still never quite manages to rise above mediocrity.