There was the maturity. Then there was the party. Now we get the balance. At thirty years old, RCA Nashville artist Chris Young is revealing his true musical ingenuity with his fifth studio album, I'm Comin' Over.
Young's first three albums showed that he was in for the long-haul; paying homage to country legends past, Young cemented a foundation of seriousness unseen in his counterparts. Then the release of A.M. in 2013 flipped the switch, revealing more of his party-going, wilder side. But with all of his cards on the table and own money invested, Young's first co-produced project, alongside Corey Crowder and Josh Hoge, displays the full spectrum of the investment Young has placed into himself - in addition to being his first self-done production, 9 out of the 11 songs have Young as a writer, proving his is more than just one of Country Weekly's Sexiest Men of the Year.
One thing absolutely paramount within all of Young's previous releases is the eloquence of his lyrics - Young has an unparalleled ability to articulate an emotion or feeling into words. Kicking off with the mid-tempo "Heartbeat," the superiority of his lyrics is overly evident: "It's better than sippin' something strong/ The way your name rolls off your tongue/ the light, it hits your eyes/ and makes me come alive/ It moves me more than any song/ When you've got that shade of lipstick on/ Across the room or by my side. Baby I can feel my heartbeat."
No stranger to making hearts beat on his own, the album gives an ample amount of sultry tunes to fawn over, beginning with the title track (and recently announced as Young's 7th #1 single), and supported by "You Do the Talkin'," "Alone Tonight," and "Callin' My Name." "I Know A Guy" and "Think of You" (his first female duet on one of his own albums) with Cassadee Pope add to Young's lovelorn repertoire, the latter a true exhibit of Young's musical abilities - accompanied by Pope's powerhouse vocals, their voices fluidly harmonize in this song of reminiscence. "Underdogs," an anthem perfect to be heard under Friday night lights or Sunday afternoons and "Sunshine Overtime," transcending listeners to warm beaches, add fun personal flairs to the overly romantic album, displaying different Young's sides of football fandom and love of relaxation, respectively.
As with any album, there has to be a stand out song - in this case, there are two. In addition to his eloquence, Young has always possessed an incredible ability to story-tell through his amazing baritone. "Sober Saturday Night" and "What If I Stay" are competing prime examples.
The raw emotion, vulnerability and general structure of "Sober Saturday Night" (Young/Brett Warren/Brad Warren) makes it perfectly heart-wrenching - it encompasses the precise feelings one goes through during a heartbreak: "I feel terrible/ Sunlight's hurting my eyes/ So I pull the shades and I make my place as black as night/I feel miserable/ And I'm missing you and me/ 'Nother Sunday morning all alone underneath these sheets." Add in Vince Gill's subtle background vocals and impeccable guitar abilities, this song is pure perfection. As Gill was one of the first concerts Young ever attended (at the now defunct Starwood Ampitheatre), the collaboration is nothing short of divine - along with "Tomorrow," "Sober Saturday Night" is undoubtedly one of the greatest tracks of Young's career thus far.
In juxtaposition, "What If I Stay" fits in a category all of its own. Jokingly dubbed the "Netflix and Chill song," track #12 is delicate and simple. Written by Young, Hoge, and #1 songwriter Johnny Bulford, the closing number has a display of vulnerability and sensuality unseen in any of Young's previous love songs; where "Gettin' You Home" had the guitar licks and deep spotlights of Young's baritone to invoke sensuality, the simplicity of the instrumentals and the imagery in the lyrics of "What If I Stay" grasp the listener with a come-hither seductiveness: "But you're givin me that look, baby/ That says you're up to no good, maybe/ And you're whispering into my neck/ Leaving thoughts inside my head/ Well then since you put it that way/ If I need to I'll go, darlin'/ But what if I stay."
1.) Heartbeat (Chris Young/ Corey Crowder/ Josh Hoge)
2.) I'm Comin' Over (Chris Young/ Corey Crowder/ Josh Hoge)
3.) Think of You (duet with Cassadee Pope) (Chris Young/ Corey Crowder/ Josh Hoge)
4.) You Do the Talkin' (Cary Barlowe/ Corey Crowder/ Josh Hoge)
5.) I Know a Guy (Benjy Davis/ Brett Tyler)
6.) Alone Tonight (Chris Young/ Corey Crowder/ Josh Hoge)
7.) Sunshine Overtime (Chris Young/ Corey Crowder/ Jeremy Stover)
8.) Sober Saturday Night (feat. Vince Gill) (Chris Young/ Brad Warren/ Brett Warren)
9.) Underdogs (Chris Young/ Corey Crowder/ Josh Hoge)
10.) Callin' My Name (Chris Young/ Corey Crowder/ Jonathan Singleton)
11.) What If I Stay ((Chris Young/ Johnny Bulford/ Josh Hoge)
If this album could be summarized into one word, it would be this: real. From the composition, production, execution, and sincere gratitude after its release, this album encompasses everything that is Chris Young. I'm Comin' Over is now available in all digital formats or local music retailers. Chris Young can also be found trekking across the US on his headlining I'm Comin' Over Tour, currently with openers Eric Paslay and Clare Dunn. Young will resume his tour on January 21 with opener Cassadee Pope in Lowell, MA.