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Music Review: New Chris Young album likable, not memorable

November 11, 2015

Chris Young, “I’m Comin’ Over” (RCA Nashville)

Chris Young ends his fifth album with “What If I Stay,” a sparse, tenderly swaying ballad that shows off the Tennessee-born country singer’s rich baritone, wide range and seductive phrasing.

For most of “I’m Comin’ Over,” 30-year-old Young hitches his truck to rhythm-driven contemporary country music. He clips off the lyrics of “Underdogs” and “Heartbeat” in a rush, limiting his voice — his greatest asset — by focusing on an insistent, high-energy delivery.

One of his era’s finest traditionalists, and an outstanding balladeer, Young spends most of his new songs proving he can compete with his bro-country peers. And he succeeds. The tracks “I Know a Guy” and “Alone Tonight” bring an emotional, real-life tone to contemporary country music.

Similarly, “Sunshine Overtime” is breezy radio candy reminiscent of mid-period Tim McGraw, and “Thinking of You” is a clever duet about the awkwardness of hanging with friends as a newly single person.

But the 11 cuts on “I’m Comin’ Over” — which Young co-produced with Corey Crowder — rarely approach career highpoints such as “Getting’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” or “I Can Take It from There.”

If Young is going to follow trends, he would benefit from Nashville shifting back toward a grittier, more tradition-based sound.

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