Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Chris Young "I'm Comin' Over" Album Review

     There once was time, not so long ago, that traditional country fans had a guy in the mainstream world that had a bright future. A deep voiced young man that sang actual country music that mattered. His name was Chris Young. He stacked up some huge hits that country fans resonated with. “The Man I Wanna Be”, “Neon”, “Voices”, “Drinking Me Lonely”, and “Tomorrow” were all big hits that made traditional country lovers’ spidey sense tingle. Somewhere along the way, that guy disappeared. The cowboy hat stopped showing up. The fiddle and steel were muffled. The lyrics became generic. The Chris Young of yesteryear is a distant memory now. With his latest release, Chris completes his journey from standout traditionalist to corporate shill. I’m Comin’ Over is bland, repetitive, and pointless.

     To do a song by song review of this album would be the easiest thing I’ve ever written, and the most pointless. I could simply copy and paste the same response for nearly every song. If you like mid-tempo love ballads with the most cliché, overused, and white bread lyrics you’ve ever heard with a forgettable light pop arrangement, this is probably the greatest album you’ve ever heard. Somewhere along the way, Chris decided that lining his pockets was way cooler than having a backbone, and he seemingly overnight became the biggest trend chasing sellout in the biz. During the height of bro-country, there he was with the ridiculous “Aw Naw”. Now, as bro-country fades, he is on to his new sound. Some record executive noticed that most of his fans were female, so they decided that he would be the “sexy guy” in their stable. No effort went in to making this album. I refuse to believe it. If this is the best that they can do, every person in that studio and on that label should lose their jobs. Sure, they might make a quick buck, but this album will mark the beginning of the end for Chris Young’s mainstream career, mark my words. He has always been a fringe star, never able to break out and win the big awards or headline arenas. By making such a bland album, Chris all but guarantees he will stay that way. A big label won’t put up with that for long. If you aren’t constantly looking for a great song, you will be forgotten. Whether it’s a well written masterpiece or something extremely catchy, you need a big song. There are no big songs on I’m Comin’ Over. There’s a lot of songs that are inoffensive and safe. Those will be mediocre hits, but they can’t sustain a career.

     Even the halfway decent moments on this album underwhelm. “I Know A Guy” is slightly interesting, as it has a slower tempo and old school feel. But it still doesn’t hit you hard and doesn’t make a lasting impression. It feels like it should be the worst song on the best album of the year. It’s ok, but it doesn’t really matter. “Sober Saturday Night” with Vince Gill has a decent melody, but even Vince Gill can’t save this song from more lame production. There’s no twang, no hurt, no despair. Chris sounds too perfect, too polished. There is no “feel” to these songs. He showed up, sang ‘em, and went on his way. No real thought or attention to detail went into this album. It’s the TV dinner of country music: if you warm it up, it’ll get rid of your hunger, but it doesn’t get you excited like a home cooked meal or have that guilty pleasure aspect of an ice cream binge. It just exists. Chris knows better.

     In 2015, you need to do something big to keep people’s attention. Whether you are making real music with feeling like Chris Stapleton or Sturgill Simpson, or just blowing fireworks out of your butt and going out of your way to suck, like Florida-Georgia Line or Sam Hunt, you go big or go home. Chris Young did not go big. I’m Comin Over is pointless and boring. There are certainly worse albums out there. But if an album doesn’t get you excited at all, what’s the point?

Standout Tracks: "I Know A Guy", "Sober Saturday Night" (feat. Vince Gill)

"I'm Comin' Over"

"I Know A Guy"

"Sober Saturday Night" (feat. Vince Gill)

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