Written by Katie O’Neil. 13 April 2015.
Moving away from party anthems and onto topics with deeper meaning, Jake Owen pulls out all the stops for his most recent album Days of Gold. Owen is crossing the line into songs contain a deeper meaning and leaving behind the songs about partying. However, he does not stray far from what has made his career. “Life of the Party” is one of the most popular songs on the album. The song is about love, loss, and the hardships of life but Owen is still able to keep the “party” sound he is known for. He is able to appeal to his fan base by keeping the arrangement upbeat and having the song be faster compared to traditional songs about loss.
The style of this song could be credited as grand style. This could be said because of the double meaning that this song contains. There is the surface meaning of the song being about a girl and then there is the deeper meaning that the song can reflect a consequence of any type of struggle in life. The song contains very strong emotion and makes the audience feel. The song could make one feel sorry for Owen, relate to Owen, or be in the same situation that Owen is in. It evokes many different emotions in people. While at the same time, could still be considered a party song because of the surface theme of Owen being out at a bar with all of his friends.
“I don’t want em to see I’m dying inside / So I guess I’ll be the life / Life of the party”, this is the chorus of the song and what could be said to be the most important part to this song. These lyrics are what anyone can relate to. One may not even like country music but they are still able to relate to these three lines. No ones life is perfect and every one has been through something, small or large, that you have to put a happy face on for when you are really hurting inside. This three lines hit home to the audience and really create a strong emotional connection to the song.
Owen’s ultimate goal was to sing something that people can relate to. “Life of the Party” is a song that embodies this perfectly. When first listening to the song, some would think that it is a break up song. However, anyone who is going through a hard time can relate to this song, not just people going through a break up. This is evident when Owen explains how this song hits close to home for him. During the tour for this album, Owen’s father was going through cancer treatments. While he was out performing every night, supposed to be having the time of his life, his father was in and out of the hospital. He talks about how he struggled to go out on stage every night, “meanwhile, I was still having to put on a smile every night and go out onstage and pretend like my life is the greatest thing ever”(Vinson). This song is supposed to reach out to those that are going through something but still have to pull themselves together and put on a happy face.
For this song to cater more towards Owen’s hardships he could have sung about death or cancer. However, he chose to sing a love song. This was a very important decision for Owen because it allows the song to be more relatable. If the song solely focused around cancer than he would have lost some of the emotional connection from the listeners. Not everyone has experienced the adversity of cancer, so not everyone would be able to connect with the song. But with making it a love song it creates a wider audience and creates a strong listener connection because a love song could include any aspect of love.
This song very much tells a story. The structure of the song, which is verse-chorus-bridge, elaborates on the meaning of the story. This happens because the verse-chorus-bridge allows the story to build until it comes to its climax, which would be the bridge. In this song the bridge is, “Everybody thinkin I’m feelin good / Everybody thinkin I’m havin a real good time / Don’t know the truth about you and I”. At this point in the song Owen is singing about how he has convinced everyone that he is doing great and having fun but this is not the truth. The people close to him cannot even tell that he is struggling with some things. So if the people closest to him cannot even tell then he might as well be the “Life of the party”.
Style and structure are two main elements that make up a song. There are numerous other elements that we could look at to analyze this song. However, in “Life of the Party” style and structure are the most important because of the emotion they provide. The grand style brings out the emotion in the audience while the structure allows the audience to fully relate to the story being told. “Swear I was gonna tell em the truth / But I didn’t know what to say” solidifies the song and the emotion that overcame Owen.
|0:00-0:26||Verse 1||“Swore I was gonna tell em the truth”||Owen attempts to explain what is going on but doesn’t know how to actually say it.|
|0:26-0:52||Chorus||“I was hanging around,”||Putting in a forefront that he is having a good time when he is miserable.|
|0:52-1:20||Verse 2||“And then one of your friends”||Even the girls friends don’t know. So why should he say anything.|
|1:20-1:46||Chorus||“Hanging around,”||Putting on an act that he is having the time of his life.|
|1:46-1:57||Instrumental||Guitar, drums, electronics||Slows down the song. Allows for a break in lyrics.|
|1:57-2:07||Bridge||“Everybody thinkin I’m feelin good”||He has everyone fooled and not one person can read into him and see the truth.|
|2:07-2:46||Chorus||“So I’m hanging around,”||So he is not going to set anyone straight. He is just going to act like he is having the time of his life.|
|2:46-2:56||Verse 3||“Life of the party”||Solidifying that he is the life of the party.When in reality no one knows the truth.|
|2:56-3:03||Outro||piano||Very short, ending the song.|
Unconventional New Single.” Rolling Stone. N.p., 04 Sept. 2014. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.
Longaker, Mark Garrett, and Jeffrey Walker. Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers. Boston: Longman, 2011. Print.
Vinson, Christina. “Jake Owen to Shake It Up With Less Party Songs on New Album.” Taste of Country. N.p., 22 Oct. 2013. Web. 06 Apr. 2015.