There is a ton of good music out this spring, but adult contemporary crooner Jon Dowling’s new single “Don’t Wanna Own the World” is an undisputed cut above the rest. In this cut from his new EP Long Days Long Nights, Dowling paints us a gorgeous picture with little more than his trademark voice, a spellbinding piano and the gentle rhythm of an acrylic percussion, and even if it isn’t his most elaborate piece to date, it’s possibly his most efficiently produced. “Don’t Wanna Own the World” boasts a lovely homespun harmony, but its stylized beats are anything but amateurish.
There’s no plasticity to this rhythm, and by that I mean that there’s really nothing here to tether the drums to a familiar pattern that we’ve already heard in some other song, classic or otherwise. “Don’t Wanna Own the World” is built like a rock single sans the overpowering volume, and other than its blushing lead vocal, it isn’t all that physical compared to the other content on Long Days Long Nights. This percussion is pretty high in the mix, but it’s essential to creating the haunting sonic environment that this song utilizes to trap its audience in a gilded gaze.
I love the definition in the instrumentation here, and I think that words like urbane only somewhat do it justice. You don’t have to be an expert music critic or even that hardcore of an audiophile to appreciate the amount of work that went into producing every understated element in this mix, but for those of us who live for a heavenly harmony devoid of an artificial filtration, it doesn’t get much better than what this single has to offer us every time we pick it up and set it on the turntable. If there’s one area where Dowling is unquestionably superior to his younger rivals, it’s in his focused approach to arranging every portion of a song as to leave an unforgettable mark on his listeners.
The mechanics of the lyrical structure that Dowling uses in “Don’t Wanna Own the World” confused me in my first few examinations of this track, but after repeated listens, I couldn’t help but embrace the glossy hook in the chorus. The lack of a cohesive rhyme in the execution of the words doesn’t hurt the fluidity of Dowling’s performance at all, but instead gives the verses a little bit of much-needed color (something that I will always approve of).
Deceptively addicting and thoroughly heart-warming, the introspective “Don’t Wanna Own the World” sees Jon Dowling shining like the bright star that he is, and after years of existing in the background, I think that he’s finally ready to make the transition from the indie scene into the mainstream lexicon. Dowling strikes me as the kind of artist that never stops growing and adapting to the world around him, and while he isn’t shying away from the tonality that brought him so much attention back in 2008 (see his debut album Trials and Tribulations), there’s no denying that he’s expanding his horizons and becoming a lot more relaxed in his recording process here.