Jake Owen's new single gives a nod to the glory days of John Mellencamp, both musically and lyrically. "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)" is a lot more than a cop from an old classic rock song, though.

Owen borrows the main chord progression from "Jack and Diane" for the new song, which is the first taste we've had of a new project that he has not yet announced. He's taken the familiar rock power chords and surrounded them with some different instruments for a country take on the same theme, and the verses borrow the familiar acoustic chords from Mellencamp's 1982 classic — back when he was still John Cougar — as well, but Owen has added his signature loping, easygoing feel and a modern production sheen to the proceedings. It's a perfect framework for a lyric that looks back wistfully on a more innocent time of young lovers listening to that classic song back when it was new, without a care in the world.

"Do you turn it up, do you sing along / Every time you hear that song / Like we did then / Like we did when / Do you close your eyes, does it make you laugh / Do the memories take you back / To six packs and a Chevy Cheyenne / Way back when I was Jack and you were Diane," Owen sings in the chorus.

Joey Moi produced the track, which credits Tommy Cecil, David Wray, Jody Stevens and Craig Wiseman as writers alongside Mellencamp. "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)" is an unabashedly backward-looking song that doesn't try to pretend to be anything else, and because of that, it actually moves the ball forward musically for Owen. With its spoken-word, not-quite-rapping verses and a broad chorus so catchy that you can sing along to it by the second time it comes around in the song, "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)" is exactly the song that Owen needed to put out to dominate country radio over the summer of 2018.

Did You Know? "I Was Jack (You Were Diane") is Owen's first single under a new deal with Big Loud Records.

Jake Owen, "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)" Lyrics:

It was yesterday, it was years ago / We were singing every word on the radio / Kinda like them songs could save our souls / Somehow, some way / We was fallin' fast, we was jumping in / Blue jean halo hanging off a limb / Two American kids, just like them / Every time we played / And it blew us away

Chorus:

Do you turn it up, do you sing along / Every time you hear that song / Like we did then / Like we did when / Do you close your eyes, does it make you laugh / Do the memories take you back / To six packs and a Chevy Cheyenne / Way back when I was Jack and you were Diane 

And the music played

Yeah we were never growing up or growing old / Breaking up or letting go / Girl, just like rock and roll / Where has it gone? / But I look like hell every now and again / I blow across your mind like that summer wind / And you're holdin' onto 16 as long as you can / Every time that it comes on

Chorus:

Do you turn it up, do you sing along / Every time you hear that song / Does it still move ya / Baby hallelujah / Do you close your eyes, does it make you laugh / Do the memories take you back / To six packs and a Chevy Cheyenne / Way back when I was Jack and you were Diane

Get the '98.1 Insider' Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest Minnesota & music news in your inbox a couple times a week. If we're not awesome, drop us like a hot potato.