Chris Young is a country star.
It’s close to superstar status, but I won’t quite give him that title yet. I won’t call Chris Young a superstar, but by the time the singles from his upcoming album, Neon, come out and hit the top spots on the chart that may change.
Chris’ latest album is about to hit the stores and I was able to have a listen.
This is a great album. In the past I’ve written that Chris Young was still coming into his own on the first album. Even on his second album I wasn’t quite sure the direction he wanted to go. There were tracks that showed huge promise and a hint of direction. Now we’re on the third album and I have to say – Chris Young knows who he is.
Chris Young is a traditional country singer that sings about the tough times in life, the growing pains of becoming an adult, and even some great romance. It all adds up to make one of the most complete country albums I’ve heard in a long time.
For me, Neon, should win awards for being one of the best albums of the year and probably the last few years. I can probably relate more since I’m Chris’ age and have experienced a few of the things he discusses in his songs, but even so – this album has catchy music with plenty of potential hits. It’s a great album.
Here are my thoughts track by track.
Chris Young – Neon
It’s hard to say more about the overall album, but I’ll say this one takes me back to the first times I listened to entire country albums. It was back in the early ’90s when a few of the artists like Tracy Byrd, John Michael Montgomery, Garth, and Alan Jackson were really hitting it big. Their entire albums were packed with great songs. That’s what Neon is – an album full of ten hit country songs.
1. I Can Take It From There
I’ll go out on a limb right now and say this is my favorite song on the entire album. This is the kind of country I think Chris Young was born to make. It’s an upbeat track about getting away and spending time with that pretty girl. I Can Take It From Here is romantic. It’s presumptuous, but playful. With songs like this it’s tough not to come across like a pig, but Chris has been pulling it off with ease. I think he’s growing his audience of men and women with this kind of track. I expect to hear this one shooting up the charts soon.
The fun groove keeps going on track number two. Lost is another example of the country music I love most. This is the song you put on when you’re just out enjoying life on a Saturday afternoon. You don’t have plans. You don’t need to do anything except spend time with the one you love. There is a youthful spirit in Chris’ music on this album. You don’t always get this excitement for life in country music these days, but it’s refreshing to hear it from someone with a classic country voice. Chris is the real deal and it’s songs like this that could make him a country superstar.
By now everyone has heard this song. It’s the first release from the album. As soon as it hit the radio waves people could tell there was a change in Chris’ confidence. He was coming off a string of number one hits and with Tomorrow he was ready to take things to the next level. Tomorrow is about giving in to temptation with an old lover even though you know it’s only for the short term. It’s a great song about a unique situation.
4. Save Water, Drink Beer
The title of this track had me worried. I didn’t want it to be that kind of catchphrase country song that tried to hard to be a country hit. I think it works though. It’s a rollicking track and when you don’t take it too seriously you can stomp your foot along with this one. You’ll probably hear Save Water, Drink Beer in the local dancehalls before too long. It’s a good track. Just kick up those heels and tip one back.
The title track of the album is a good one. Neon takes me back to the sound of country music from the late ’80s and early ’90s – my favorite period in country music. In the song Chris sings about his love for the neon colors he sees in life. He’s seen all the beautiful colors in life from the natural world, but he loves that neon light from the local country bar the most. The track was written by some of today’s best writers including Shane McAnally who co-wrote Last Call from Lee Ann Womack. I’d love if Neon became a single at some point. It could bring back that traditional sound.
6. Old Love Feels New
In this song we have the story of a young man asking his grandpa for advice on love. The older patriarch thinks back on the love of his life and describes all the feelings. He describes about he never stopped losing his breath every time he saw her. He knew it was love when he couldn’t take his eyes off her when she walked into his sight. He feels like they’ve always been together and will always be together. My favorite line is when Chris sings about how she keeps surprising you. That’s a really neat way of putting it.
This track was fighting with a couple others for my favorite on the album. I don’t know what it is, but the fun little groovy tracks are really getting to me on this set. You has that playful, fun melody. Chris throws all his worries to the side and just sings about love and how he’s head over heels with his woman. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He’s letting his playful side out and is ready to just sit back and be with the one he loves. He’s completely in love with her and can’t think about anything else. If I had to guess at a single from the album this one would be right at the top of the list.
For the guys out there this will be a difficult one to pass up when it comes on. Flashlight is a song about spending time with dad. For a kid growing up there is nothing better than holding the flashlight for dad when he’s working under the hood or under the sink. It’s not so much the task that’s important, but the time you’re spending together. This one reminds me of The Car by Jeff Carson. That’s one of my all time favorite songs. Flashlight is that caliber of song. I can see this one being a hit single, but I keep saying that about every song on this album.
9. When She’s On
This is the kind of track I think Chris will become known for. As with a few of the earlier tracks on this set I think When She’s On is the kind of song Chris excels with. When She’s On is about a woman. It’s about how the woman in Chris’ life is really on when she’s on. He admires the times when it’s just the two of them kicking back at home. The song has a groovy feel with a fun little melody that makes you sing along and possibly even dance around the living room. It’s fun. It’s upbeat. This could be a hit single in a heartbeat.
10. She’s Got This Thing About Her
For the last track on the collection things slow way down. Chris is back in balladeer mode with She’s Got This Thing About Her. It’s a love song for the woman in his life. He tells everyone about how amazing she is. He thinks about her all the time. He can’t wait until she gets back from wherever she is. The sound of the song is big. It has this really interesting arrangement. If you close your eyes you can imagine Chris singing this song on the stage at the award shows with an entire backing orchestra behind him. The lights are down low and Chris is standing all alone with a single spotlight on him. Then as the song closes the love of his life walks on the stage.
Now that’s the way to end an album.
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