Jake Owen’s headed into uncharted territory with his carefree new single “Real Life,” ditching the sandy beach jams in favor of an everyman anthem with a Nineties rock sound and a killer sense of humor. And his new video for the track drives the point home.
“I like to think I have a decent sense of humor, but sometimes it’s misunderstood,” Owen joked to Rolling Stone Country during a ride on his boat down Nashville’s Cumberland River this morning to promote the Discover Boating organization and the watercraft lifestyle. “I wanted to make [the video] over-the-top literal, but I also wanted people to watch it and have to go back and watch it again and see something that they didn’t see the first time. Like ‘Hey, was that Kevin Harvick shaking champagne in the background?’ or ‘Was that squirrel just talking?’
“I think it’s fun to do slapstick humor — especially since my last video was me on a stool singing ‘What We Ain’t Got,’ and it was just my face, basically, just dead serious singing. I’ve done enough of those staring-into-the-camera things that it was about time to just have some fun.”
Leaning on the idea that small-town folks have to entertain themselves, the video finds Owen and his bored buddies hanging in the local general store before busting into make-your-own party mode, catching some rays in an EZ-Boy and, of course, hitting the local Waffle House for some “real fine” dining.
The cast is pretty real, too, including Owen’s mom and twin brother, some of his actual hometown friends and the previously mentioned NASCAR superstar Harvick.
“Real Life” is the lead single from his upcoming fifth album, and Owen said his new music would be unlike anything country fans have heard before, mixing influences freely and mostly avoiding beach themes.
“I get so tired of people who try to put something in a box,” he says. “It’s kind of like if you paint a picture and it’s a sunset scene, why paint another sunset scene the next time?”
Owen’s as-yet untitled album is expected some time this year. He first performed “Real Life” at the 2015 CMT Music Awards, trying his hand at a production full of backup dancers and live choreography.