This moody cut is the second single from American country music artist Jake Owen
's third album Barefoot Blue Jean Night
. Shane McAnally, J.T. Harding and Catt Gravitt wrote the song. Illinois native Catt Gravitt has written songs for the likes of Martina McBride, Kenny Rogers, Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins, and Craig Morgan whilst singer-songwriters Harding and McAnally's previous collaborations include Kenny Chesney's hit single "Somewhere With You
In our interview with Gravitt
, she explained: "We started talking about our personal situations, and we could all relate to it really strongly. We just assumed that a girl was going to record it, because it was such a vulnerable lyric and it's hard to find a man in country music that is willing to express that. But then Jake did it. He's a very sexy guy. Oh my Gosh! It was just a great combination."
The song finds Owen confronting a woman who only flirts with him when she's drinking. He explained to The Boot
why he chose it as his follow-up to his hit single "Barefoot Blue Jean Night
": "People just gravitate towards it, like the line in there about 'you kiss me when you're drunk.' The label wanted 'The One That Got Away' to be my single, and I wrote it, and obviously as a songwriter you want a song to be a single, you make a good amount of money. But I just knew, there are too many people coming to me to tell me they love that song. So I just told the label, 'Y'all are gonna think I'm crazy, but let's change it.' There's like a lot of vulnerability in that song."
Owen told The Boot he was attracted to this song as he could relate to its meaning. He explained: "It's a song about being in an odd relationship with someone where it's not even really a relationship, you really don't even have that much in common with that person except for sexually. You use each other for convenience. I've been there. A lot of people have been there - it's called a 'booty call'! [laughs]"
The song is one that you wouldn't normally hear a guy sing. Owen admitted to The Boot that the lyric, "don't leave me here like this, don't tease me and my emotions and then leave," is "something that would come from a girl, but coming from a guy's perspective it's pretty vulnerable." He continued: "I think guys still feel the same way. There's going to be some times where the guy doesn't want her to go, he's more into it than she is or vice versa."
Shane McAnally came up with the original idea for the song after reading a book titled Running With Scissors, which he thought could be a metaphor for a toxic relationship. The three songwriters wrote the lyric "you've got me running with scissors down the hall, and I know it could kill me if I fall," but when Owen put his final vocal on the track, he felt uncomfortable as he didn't believe that line was true to who he was. So the trio tried to pen something that cleared up the metaphor and made it a little more believable and came up with, "you've got me out on the edge every time you call, and I know it would kill me if I fall." McNally commented to The Boot: "I think Jake made the right choice. He sings it with such conviction that the line is even more powerful than before. It's just ironic, that the line we based the whole song on, is the line that got 'cut.' No pun intended."
He added: "Sometimes, you do have to lose a great or overly clever line in the best interest of the song. The song is king. We just try not to get in the way of the story. Luckily, Jake's instincts saved us from overwriting a story that was simple and needed to stay that way."
JT Harding told The Boot the story of the song: "The three of us got together and Shane started playing the guitar intro just like you hear it now on the radio. It sounded so cool and yet sad at the same time. I started singing words off the top of my head, and lyrics literally gushed out about a romantic mess I had gotten myself into. Shane jumped right in with great words about his own past messes. [Laughs].
After the song was finished, Gravitt commented that she felt they "were tiptoeing around the sexiness of the song's situation." Harding recalled: "She literally stood up and loudly said, 'I'm a woman! I want to feel this!' More detailed lyrics emerged like, 'Don't put your hand up my shirt and tell me it's OK.'"
Harding told The Boot how Owen ended up cutting the song: "Around Nashville some people thought a girl should sing this song, but I knew if a dude sang it, it would be huge because it's a bit vulnerable. Shane was writing songs with Jake, and they talked about 'Alone With You' and Jake decided to cut it. I couldn't be happier. Jake and his producers Joey Moi and Rodney Clawson knocked it out of the park."
Owen told Billboard magazine that he saw this cut as a perfect complement to his previous single. "We felt like it was a really good transition at the time," he said. "After we had such a big summertime song with 'Barefoot Blue Jean Night,' it was a good song to lead into the winter months, where everybody holes up in a house and gets cold and lonely."