There is nothing technically wrong with Chris Young’s latest album, “I’m Coming Over.” It is not offensive or bad for your health. But that’s just it – “I’m Coming Over” is Cream of Wheat. It’s raw tofu. It’s unsalted, unbuttered popcorn when what you’re really craving is a sweet, salty treat.
Young has never done anything to offend the country music genre – in fact, his early singles, such as “Drinkin’ Me Lonely,” “Voices,” and “Neon,” shone amongst the once top-notch competition. However, if there was ever a time when an album of substance was needed to keep a career on the radar, it’s now. With country pioneers releasing ballads – à la Florida Georgia Line’s “Confession” and Cole Swindell’s “You Should Be Here” – in a shift from partying to feelings and soul, it’s clear that what audiences want has changed. I’m afraid “I’m Coming Over” misses the mark, which is unfortunate for one of the genre’s best voices; Young at his best sounds as smooth as leather.
“I’m Coming Over” finds a bit of humanity in its title track and again with “I Know a Guy.” A steel guitar makes a welcome guest appearance on “Sober Saturday Night,” but the entire album gives the listener the feeling that you’ve heard it all before, which is likely because you have. “I’m Coming Over” spares no clichés, with overplayed tropes of women and booze, giving the whole project a generic feel despite seasoned co-writers such as Vince Gill.
I have always had a soft spot for Chris Young and his music. He seems like a genuinely likable guy. In the current, tumultuous atmosphere of country music now basking in the afterglow of Chris Stapleton’s Country Music Association wins, being a likable guy and releasing a milquetoast album is a disappointment from someone who has higher capabilities.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.