Chris Young declares, 'I'm Comin' Over'

The urgency expressed through the title track on Chris Young's latest album might lead one to believe the country artist is nicely veering toward Bruce Springsteen territory. There's just a palpable sexual tension running through it. Even the dopey line/question (“Why put out a fire while it's still burning?”) doesn't spoil the fine single. Then, for whatever reason, most the rest of the album just coasts dispassionately to the end.

The album includes the obligatory summer song with “Sunshine Overtime,” one song about hearts with “Heartbeat” and the pickup line song of “You Do The Talkin'.” Many of these songs are basically forgettable, which is sad when you realize how great Young sings them.

Young almost redeems himself with “I Know A Guy.” The lyric begins by stating the cliché that if you need something fixed, for instance, 'I know a guy.' But Young turns that cliché around on himself by describing how he knows a guy (himself) who is not really qualified for a lasting romance. Also, the heartbreak expressed in “Sober Saturday Night” is effective. Lastly, the soft, acoustic arrangement to “What If I Stay” is refreshing. The latter track's nice, acoustic guitar accompaniment stands out when compared with the sonic bombast for much of the rest of the album. For example, “Alone Tonight” has one of those big, multi-element pop song arrangements that just spoils the moment.

With its combination of a love for football, and a Rocky-like rooting for little guys grooves to a anthem-like rock groove, "Underdogs" is another loser. It sounds like a Montgomery Gentry B-side, and is far below Young's standard. Why he'd waste his fine singing voice on such marginal material is highly questionable.

Chris Young is one of the best pure country singers out there now. Along with guys like Josh Turner and Joe Nichols, he has the potential to help lead the genre out of its current bro-country wasteland. Had I'm Comin' Over included more high quality songs, Young could have been up there with best of 'em.

Past Young hits, like “The Man I Want To Be” and “Gettin' You Home,” offered the perfect match of topnotch songwriting and equally fine singing. I'm Comin' Over, however, just doesn't include any songs of that high caliber. The net result is like watching a major league pitcher throwing to little league players. Sure, the pitches are accurate; but really, is it any competition? Nashville is filled with great songwriters, and it couldn't have been that difficult to find a few more great songs for this album. Let's hope Young does better next time.