Jason Owens is an artist in all aspects of his life, from his dedication to expression on the stage to the studio he dominates with his decadent lead vocal, and never has this been any clearer than it is in the new single “Party Like You.” Stylized as a 2000s country power ballad with a brand new breath of life supplied to its most melodic of components, “Party Like You” is every bit the centerpiece of its creator’s sound that you could ask for, and it represents the core aesthetics of the best things going on in country right now marvelously. Through its bluntly human lyricism and the humble tone in which it’s being presented to us to the very stitching of the sonic fabric backing it up courtesy of a gorgeous string harmony, this track is Jason Owens at his best – and perhaps most accessible to date.
It’s easy to initially peg “Party Like You” as another heartache-inspired single when studying its general narrative from a poetic standpoint, but I found the depth of self-awareness it references on the part of Owens to be too deep for such a simple branding to withstand. There’s more to the story here than wanting to break free from the isolation between our protagonist and the girl he desires; there’s a sought-after kinship with our past at stake, and the battle is one being fought through a lot more than memories and wishes. This is a man breaking out of his shell and revealing a color to us as gorgeous as his gliding stride toward this chorus.
The string play in the mix inarguably draws as much of our attention to the song as the lead vocal does, and I think it was essential to give the guitar parts as heavy a presence as they’ve been afforded here. Owens isn’t straddling the groove in this track as much as he has some of the other singles he’s cut in the past (and even the songs accompanying this one in his larger discography), but instead letting his harmony with the instrumentation set the pace for everything. It’s a bit experimental, and potentially more demanding a task than he’s been given in the studio before, but he nonetheless rises to the occasion in true professional style.
Compositionally speaking, I think it would be a disservice to Owens for me to call this gripping new single anything other than his scene’s very best piece of work to hit record stores and streaming sites this April. Without having to sacrifice any of the indie integrities that have become critical to his gaining traction in the American underground in the last couple of years, Jason Owens effectively ascends to a higher class of songwriting skill and performance luster here, and I don’t think it would be wrong to say he’s set the bar high for himself and the competition as a result. “Party Like You” is his new gold standard and a fabulous means of connecting with the audience at a time in history when country listeners need the collective validation of meaningful songcraft.