Jake Owen – “The One That Got Away”

25 Jul

Songwriters:  Jake Owen, Jimmy Ritchey, Dallas Davidson

It would be all too easy to call out the new Jake Owen single for the fact that it doesn’t sound remotely like country music in any form, but the song exemplifies a much greater loss in modern country music – the fact that country storytelling has gone almost entirely by the wayside.

“The One That Got Away” is an unorginal song that tells an unoriginal story with an unoriginal hook.  Two teenage lovers share a summer fling for three months before parting ways, after which the guy wishes he had the girl back.  That’s my summary of the song’s story, but you don’t learn anything more from the song itself than from the preceding summary.  The song’s characterizations are so wafer-thin that it feels an account of two nameless and faceless individuals, while the song’s hook amounts to nothing more than a trite phrase that Owen doesn’t use in any novel way.  The loose narrative consists of vague paint-by-number summertime images that have been many times before, and that don’t enhance the story beyond the black-and-white template, making for a song consistently uninteresting in content.

The song’s greatest and most substantial failure is that it makes no significant attempt to connect with the listener on an emotional basis.  Nothing about the story feels urgent or revelatory, and nothing about the delivery feels impassioned or sincere.  That just leaves one wondering why the song even needed to exist in the first place.

If you want a really great song about the love ‘that got away,’ one you could go for is George Strait’s “I’d Like to Have That One Back.”  It’s way better.

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

1 Comment

Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Single Reviews


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One response to “Jake Owen – “The One That Got Away”

  1. rowdyred

    July 31, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Eh. Jake Owen does nothing for me. IMO he hit his highwater mark with “Startin’ With Me” back in 2006, when the quality of the song made it irrelevant that he has a vocal range of about 9 notes. He has one of the most uninteresting voices on the radio and his songs have become progressively more trite, like this one. Jake is just one of an increasing number of guys whose radio material seems to be composed either by committee or by computer. There’s just no heart, no soul, nothing unique or sincere. This isn’t a song I expect to be hearing in five years, much less 10 or 20. It’s just another summer throwaway.

    Now, this is gonna age me, but i don’t care. A story song in my opinion should carry a little weight to it. I’m thinking of “El Paso” and “Ode to Billy Joe” as the kind of depth that is almost unthinkable now. Would “modern” country radio give either of those songs an audience in 2012? I’m afraid I know the answer. And that, in my opinion, is a real tragedy. So is the idea that this — this is the typical story song in 2012.


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