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Review: Chris Young comes into his own on 'Neon'

By MICHAEL McCALL/For The Associated Press
July 11, 2011 at 2:11 a.m.
Updated July 14, 2011 at 2:14 a.m.


Chris Young, "Neon" (RCA)

Since Chris Young won the TV talent show "Nashville Star" in 2006, a few characteristics have stood out: an expressive baritone voice; a tall, handsome stature; and a friendly, approachable personality.

What he lacked, at first, was an identifiable sound of his own. But with four consecutive No. 1 hits, including the recent "Tomorrow" from his new album "Neon," the emerging country star is staking out a distinctive style that takes full advantage of his talent and his personality.

At his core, Young is a romantic with a moral code. The Tennessee native has a sensitive way of bringing out what's important about what he cares about and who he is. This style shows not only in love ballads, but also in songs about family and his laid-back yet caring philosophy on life.

Even on a song about nightlife, like the traditional-country title cut, Young sounds like the guy in the bar to turn to when you need a friend. But what makes "Neon" his best album yet are the songs about relationships, from the sweet come-on of "Lost" to the sage "Old Love Feels New." Throughout, Young comes across as a guy whose heart is as strong as his libido.

CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: While the album's initial hit "Tomorrow" may end up as one his career-defining cuts, the tenderly lustful "I Can Take It From There" is just as strong. Set to a swaying rhythm, he convinces his date to spend the night in rather than out on the town - with passionate promises that are steamy without being coarse.

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