Comprised of tools familiar to his fans and the country-pop model in general, yet completely removed from the mainstream mundane in every sense that counts, there’s nothing ordinary about the way Jason Owens’ “Party Like You” comes together. Following the most subtle of instrumental introductions, we quickly find ourselves enraptured by the flow of the hesitant rhythm and the melodic trappings which adorn it.
Jason is swaggering as always, but his confidence allows him the ability to step back from the mic far more often than he would have in a previous outing. There’s so much on the shoulders of the beat here, and still, the percussion never amplifies past much of a creep – it doesn’t need to. Presenting us with a ballad of togetherness when we need it most the job of pop’s most iconic players, and on the underground end of the spectrum Jason Owens is issuing a statement in “Party Like You” that doesn’t just apply to the tough times some who are feeling the burden of heartache are getting through today; it’s a celebration of the way we should look at all of life’s tests.
The lyrics touch on the narrative ever so slightly, suggesting a void that is only properly filled by the entwining harmony of Owens’ pronounced crooning and the delicate arrangement of the strings. The guitar parts included in this track are meant to expand on the theme of the verses without overwhelming us with sonic virtuosities, and I don’t know that they could sound any more appropriate and on-point than they do in this instance.
The rhythm implies urgency but is ultimately left feeling unforced thanks to the relaxed style of the percussion in the background, and this in turn only furthers the optimistic but ultimately reflective tone set forth by the poetry in the first place. This is an artist who is constantly finding ways to make his duality as a songwriter a focal point over the flash of his performances, but this go-round in the studio is challenging him much more than I would have originally anticipated it would. Country needs more players of this perspective, and I don’t think I’m alone in seeing as much right now.
There aren’t many singer/songwriters in the game today that can stand beside Jason Owens’ melody-first approach to classical and forward-thinking country music, and judging from how much he’s continued to grow I think it’s safe to assume he’s only going to get better with age. This beat is the cornerstone of the best work I’ve ever listened to bearing his moniker, and while “Party Like You” doesn’t push many of the boundaries traditionally set up between pop and country music, it doesn’t ask for us to examine its poetic value through the lens of revolutionary composing alone. Owens is more than a pen and paper; he’s an expressive artist who puts it all on the line no matter what that requires of him in the studio, and he warms my heart as a music critic with this most recent work.