Chris Young – “The Man I Want To Be”

Juli Thanki | November 16th, 2009

chris-young-the-man-i-want-to-beSongwriters: Brett James & Tim Nichols.

Chris Young’s self-titled first album suffered from an acute case of Underwooditis: a great voice, but not-so-great material. While the dozens of Nashville Star viewers may have bought the record, the subsequent radio play just wasn’t enough to make him a household name. His second album has been much better received, with “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” recently topping the charts and “Voices” breaking into the Top 40 back in May 2008.

The title track and third single from his sophomore album, “The Man I Want to Be,” is written by a pair of proven rainmakers. Brett James (“Jesus, Take the Wheel”) and Tim Nichols (“Live Like You Were Dying”) start things off with a killer opener, “God, I’m down here on my knees ’cause it’s the last place left to fall/Begging for another chance if there’s any chance at all” and although some lyrics are a little too bland to be particularly moving (“I wanna be a givin’ man/I wanna really start livin’, man” is the worst offender), “The Man I Want to Be” is certainly good enough to hold its own when compared to the similarly inspirational hits penned by Nichols and James mentioned above.

In the hands of a lesser singer, this single would be radio filler in between songs about being country and songs about high school; however, Young sells it, truly sounding as though he’s at the end of his rope and praying to anyone who’ll listen. He possesses perhaps the best voice to hit commercial country since Josh Turner first hit the scene, and his vocal turn on “The Man I Want to Be” is slightly reminiscent of Keith Whitley.

“The Man I Want to Be” is definitely capable of success: it’s got the catchy, radio-friendliness of “Gettin’ You Home” while also being (neo)traditional enough to lessen the grief of those sitting shiva after last week’s CMAs. Better get used to hearing from Chris Young: at only 24 years old, he’s got the talent and potential to make some mighty fine music.

Thumbs Up

  1. Occasional Hope
    November 16, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Tbh I think he’s still a great voice in search of great material. But I do like this one a lot.

  2. SW
    November 16, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I don’t care for this song in the context of his whole album. Too much of it is dragging, slow, uninteresting music.

  3. CMW
    November 16, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    This is one of the few songs on the album that I haven’t been able to get into at all… so it makes sense that they’d release it to radio. A+ for the voice and countryness, but the writing is pretty weak, I think.

  4. Brady Vercher
    November 16, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    I agree with you, Juli, that some of the lines in this are a little bland and for the most part it’s pretty simple, but I agree with Occasional Hope about liking it a lot.

  5. Rick
    November 16, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    CMW, a recent focus group session of young women wearing cowboy hats rated each new album track on the “Alison Bonaguro AirHead Country Appeal Scale” revealed this song to clearly be the next Top 40 radio single…

    I’m glad that younger (ie younger than Alan or George) tradition oriented male artists are able to garner some radio airplay. I just wish Chris and Joe Nichols would write or source stronger material.

  6. Nicolas
    November 16, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Love it! I really like this guy’s voice. I hope he continues to have success following “Gettin’ You Home,” because he’s a diamond in the rough

  7. Caroline
    November 16, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Totally agree that Chris Young has a great voice. About time he got more credit for his talent. Look forward to hearing more from him.

  8. jade leonard
    November 16, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    i love it! u have a great voice

  9. Sam
    November 17, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I think that Chris Young has a great voice and I agree that he really sells the song. In my opinion, though, he should have released another mid-tempo or uptempo song before this one. I feel like this song drags a bit at times.

  10. Thomas
    November 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    …apple and pie, chris young’s voice and a country song – some matches are made in heaven.

  11. Wade Patry
    November 19, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Havent been able to stop listening to this since I heard it. Love his voice, and he really sells the song.

  12. Lori
    July 2, 2010 at 10:56 am

    You are now eating your words. This song has topped the charts for 3 weeks in a row. I saw him in an acoustic performance just this week, this song is so strong for him. I love it!!!!! And anything he sings. He’s going to be another superstar one day, then what will you gripe about?

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