Chris Young — “Neon”
Could “Neon” be Chris Young’s best single, album cut and vocal performance to date?
All (in this case, neon) signs point to “yes” across the board, thanks to the irresistibly laid-back brilliance of Young’s performance. Meandering, vibrant lyrics bring up the rear, pulling together a modern spin on a classic country storyline.
With the slyness of Alan Jackson and the smoothness of George Strait, “Neon” is clever – during your “weekend on the rocks,” just “put a double on your troubles” – without trying too hard. The colorful imagery infused into each verse by songwriters Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Trevor Rosen pops, while playful, unexpected phrasing keeps the tune from coming off too polished.
And while those paintings of vibrant Lone Star flowers and deep desert sunsets leap to life, they still can’t shine as bright as Young’s voice. In keeping with the honky-tonk theme, Young delivers a smooth pour of his own: the flow of word into word and note into note adds a sleepy sexiness to the overall effect, a similar but more understated version of Young’s signature breakout hit “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song).”
For all the flack he received about Neon’s hatless cover image, Young has stayed rooted in the nineties, neo-traditional throwback vibe that first got him noticed on television singing competition Nashville Star. “Neon” continues that trend, two-stepping into its rightful place at country radio. As both the title and best track from Young’s third album, it’s another indication of the young singer’s knack for creating satisfying country music.
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