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Album Spotlight: Jake Owen, ‘Days of Gold’

Jake Owen Days of Gold Album Cover
RCA Nashville

Only one song on ‘Days of Gold,’ Jake Owen‘s fourth studio album, matches the energy of the red-hot title track. There’s variety to be found on this long-anticipated release, but the themes Owen explores are the same as those he’s covered on previous albums.

Partying, romance and heartbreak (or some combination of the three) dominate all 12 tracks on the release, with ’1972′ standing out as an exception that mixes in rock ‘n’ roll nostalgia.

“I’m gonna rock you like Zeppelin and roll you like the Stones / Blow out them speakers in my old headphones / Gonna fly like an eagle when I drop a needle in the groove … We gonna kick it like the kids did in 1972,” he sings.

Sharper songwriting leads to more lyrical depth, but one song will leave fans truly stinging. ‘What We Ain’t Got’ is immediately memorable. Owen hasn’t delivered such a vulnerable ballad since ‘Startin’ With Me’ in 2006. “I wanted the world ’til my whole world stopped / You know a love like that ain’t easily forgot,” he sings over a piano and whisper of a backing female. It’s a beautifully unique moment.

Individually, songs like ‘Ghost Town’ and ‘Life of the Party’ are strong. Both paint a clear picture of heartbreak in unique ways. There’s a similar effect later on the album with ‘Tipsy,’ ‘Drivin’ All Night’ and ‘Sure Feels Right.’ The first three tracks (‘Days of Gold,’ ‘Beachin” and ’1972′) are all made for a beach party — it’s like the songs were purposely organized by theme by producer Joey Moi.

The title track ends up being the biggest risk Owen takes on ‘Days of Gold,’ but that’s easy to justify. How much tinkering would you do with a formula that produced four straight No. 1 hits and two Platinum singles?

Key Tracks: ‘Days of Gold,’ ’1972, ‘Ghost Town,’ ‘What We Ain’t Got’

Not a Family Affair: Fans hoping for Owen’s new wife or daughter to be casually referenced in lyrics on ‘Days of Gold’ will be disappointed. It’s personal, but in a very different sort of way. Owen continues to do what he’s always done, and the result is his sharpest effort yet.

Did You Know?: Owen has gone from writing or co-writing every song on his debut album to writing nothing for this new album. Jaren Johnston from the Cadillac Three is a writer he leans heavily on — and it pays off.

Next: Jake Owen Explains Why His Life Now Has Substance

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