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Chris Young - Neon (CD Review)

Chris Young - Neon (CD Review)

1. I Can Take It From There 2. Lost 3. Tomorrow 4. Save Water, Drink Beer 5. Neon
6. Old Love Feels New 7. You 8. Flashlight 9. When She’s On 10. She’s Got This Thing About Her

Release Date - 12 July 2011
Label - RCA Record Nashville (P) 2011 Sony Music Entertainment
Lyrics - Included
Time - 32:33

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! - That’s the message to be drawn from Chris Young’s third album and who can blame him sticking with a successful formula that produced three #1 singles, ‘Gettin' You Home’ (The Black Dress Song), the title track and ‘Voices’ from his last album THE MAN I WANT TO BE. Young teams up once more with veteran producer James Stroud on this 10-track recording on which Chris contributes with 7 co-writes.

The high-spirited, fun and mid-tempo opener ‘I Can Take It From There’ written with the hit song writing duo Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip (Blake Shelton ‘Honey Bee’) has a feel of Gettin' You Home’ Part II. Young gives the town parties a miss and opts for a smoochy night in. With Conway Twitter playing and the lights turned down low he encourages his darlin’ to grab a couple of glasses and a bottle of wine: And baby while you're at it / You might as well let down your hair/ And I can take it from there

Lost’ written with Ashley Gorley (Carrie Underwood - “Don’t Forget To Remember Me” and “All-American Girl”) and frequent Brad Paisley song-smith Chris DuBois is a catchy summertime number. Heading down the highway a carefree couple turn off the GPS and get lost in the back roads, a song on the radio and when they reach a quiet riverside retreat get lost in each others eyes for a night spent underneath the stars!

As I write the single ‘Tomorrow’ (written with Anthony Smith and Frank Myers) has provided Young with a fourth successive #1 single, an astonishing feat. After a gentle start the track builds like the fervor on this break-up cut. There are tears and sorrow as a relationship ends - “We're like fire and gasoline, I’m on good for you, You’re no good for me” but on one last passion filled night the male character clings on to final embers of love before it fizzles out: But tonight I’m gonna love you like there’s no tomorrow (see video)

The high-tempo, boisterous ‘Save Water, Drink Beer’ (written by Jon Nite, Megan Connor and Ross Copperman) may well work as light-hearted anthemic live show number. The vocals are somewhat forced and lyrical it’s rather clichéd, I’d prefer to hear something delivered with substance as Young stakes his environmental concerns in conserving water by popping tops and downing some ice-cool alcohol to quench his thirst.

Neon’ (written by Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Trevor Rosen) is a positively glowing ballad and something you could imagine George Strait recording. With pedal steel (Paul Franklin), fiddle (Aubrey Haynie) and electric guitar riffs (Brent Mason) it flows like the double whiskeys handed out at the bar with “a little Johnny Lee” playing on the jukebox. The skies are blue in Wyoming and the sunsets flame red in Santa Fe, he loves those yellow Texas sunflowers and the orange of fall but Young gets his buzz from the artificial afterglow.

The softly opening, mid and closing melody on ‘Old Love Feels New’ sounds familiar but none-the-less an excellent tender song written with Tim Nichols and Brett James who penned Young’s smash hit ‘The Man I Want To Be’. A grand-father relates the magically feeling as a teenager when discovering a life-long soul mate and a love that’s spanned and still surprises him as the years pass. The singer too feels those same emotions with the hand-me-down words: That's how you know, when it grabs a hold and won't let go.

You’ has a slow groove but a little light-weight. The sweet Flashlight’ (written with Robert Arthur and Johnny Bulford) has some James Taylor-esque acoustic flavours in the gentle tune. A man reminisces on fond bygone childhood memories holding the torch in the garage whilst his dad fixed the Chevy. He learnt more about life than car repairs with those night time conversations – “Cause to this day I still can't make 'em run right, But I sure did learn a lot “. Chris actually tapped up his own father to enquire the socket size that he used which was incorporated in the song – “He'd have a nine-sixteenths in one hand”. Without doubt the tool of Young’s trade is his voice which he showcases on this stand-out cut.

When She’s On’ is a little lacklustre but as far as Young’s concerned his lady looks a million dollars whether she’s wearing high heels, cut-off jeans, a Texas Longhorn’s t-shirt or dressed in her PJ’s reading a bedtime story to a daughter - One smile is all it takes!

The album goes out with a high on the beautiful orchestral love song ‘She’s Got This Thing About Her’ co-written with Cory Batten and Kent Blazy. It might be a tad syrupy but the melody and words have me hooked as it says in the chorus: Like the magic in your favorite song, You just can't put your finger on

A little short on playing time maybe but it has few misses and many hits. The album has debuted at #2 on the Billboard country charts and Chris Young is worthy of CMA Awards not just nominations.


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