Jon Dowling Releases “Don’t Wanna Own The World” 


Jon Dowling is no stranger to success as an independent artist, but he’s raising the bar for himself and his scene with the debut of his latest single, “Don’t Wanna Own the World,” which is out now everywhere that adult contemporary is sold and streamed. One of the cornerstone tracks of his new EP Long Days Long Nights, “Don’t Wanna Own the World” evokes an array of images within our minds via its potently poetic verses and rich instrumental prowess, and, to some extent, dabbles in some external influences that a lot of critics (myself included) weren’t aware of Dowling acknowledging. This is one pop song that you don’t have to think twice about picking up this May, and it’s only a small sample of what its parent record contains in spades.

I’ve been digging on the bassline in this track since I was first introduced to the song through a colleague in journalism. The bass is pronounced in the grander scheme of things, but it isn’t even a little bit abrasive. Everything in “Don’t Wanna Own the World” has its place, and Dowling carefully arranges every instrument to perform a very explicit task within the cultivation of this insatiably catchy groove. This single doesn’t swing, but rather sway to a decadently pendulous rhythm that, in other scenarios, might have left us feeling a bit underwhelmed were it not accented with the exquisite piano parts we find here. The drums are the one element that isn’t quite there for me, but it doesn’t affect the track enough to really change my opinion of this song as a whole.

The beats have more twists and turns to them than a Rocky Mountain highway in “Don’t Wanna Own the World,” and there’s even one particular spot in the refrain where it feels like Dowling is about to take us careening off the edge of an overly-experimental cliff. Then, as if cued by a conductor, he pulls back and lets the keys take over the harmony that will lead us back into the hook that adorns the chorus. It’s an exhilarating patch of audio, and not exactly what we would normally find in an adult contemporary single from an artist who has been around the business for well over a decade.

“Don’t Wanna Own the World” is divinely produced with close attention paid to the minute nuances within its sonic profile that most performers would ignore when mastering a track, and devout pop consumers with an ear for the surreal will definitely want to make a point of adding this song to their collection the next time that they’re in the market for new and exciting music. I’ve seen Jon Dowling claw his way through the ranks from an unknown place in the hierarchy of underground musicians to get to where he stands now, and in all of the time that has gone by since he first joined the conversation, he’s never exhibited any of the common characteristics that prevent an artist of his caliber for doing exactly what they set out to do when developing a new project. He certainly hit this one out of the park, and I don’t think it will be the last gem that we hear out of him before the decade is over.


Gwen Waggoner