Black Music Matters Festival

Chris Young

Neon – 2011 (RCA)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Chris Young

Chris Young has a fine voice, which is at its best whenever the vocalist dips down into his lower register. However, Young is a good, not great, singer, which means his new "Neon" album rises and falls with its song quality. The single Tomorrow sports an excellent lyric, which smartly expresses conflict over whether or not a relationship is truly over for good. Another fine song is Flashlight. The flashlight a father lets his son hold, while pop would work on a car at night, inspired its unusual title. The song's a kind of companion piece to Trace Adkins' Just Fishin' because, just as the characters in Adkins' song are doing so more than just fishing - they're actually bonding together - father and son in Flashlight are growing their relationship.

A song like Save Water, Drink Beer is a throwaway. The concept is that the best way to conserve water is to drink more beer. Except for Tomorrow, which gets heavy, most of this album's love songs are just a little too light. She's Got This Thing About Her and When She's On, as examples, use many predictably pretty words to describe the perfect girl, without really giving that pedestal woman any individualistic characteristics that separate her from the pack. These featherweight tunes are fine songs, one supposes, if the goal is to fall in love with a generic woman.

Upon final tally, "Neon," adds up to a couple of showstoppers and a bunch of other so-so-ers.