Chris Young, “Neon”

Chris Young is probably one of the hottest male vocalists in country music right now. He’s got a string of number one singles, five to be exact, along with a couple ACM and CMA nominations under his belt. His recent album, Neon, was one of 2011’s most critically acclaimed albums (it landed on ATC’s Best Albums of the Year list) and has spawned two of those five straight number one singles. Will the album’s title track make it the singer’s sixth consecutive chart-topper?

Is it just me or are most of the singles being sent to country radio are actually good?? The latest singles from David Nail, Easton Corbin, and Thompson Square are some of the best singles so far this year. Now we can add Chris Young’s “Neon” to the list of outstanding singles.

What I’ve always enjoyed most about Chris Young as an artist is his ability to stay strictly country. “Neon” is no different as the song oozes traditional country from the opening note to the closing chords. The production revolves almost entirely around the beautiful sound of the steel guitar, which always remains the focal point. Add in a slight fiddle, electric guitar, and a bit of piano and you’ve got yourself one heck of a honky-tonk ballad.

Songwriters Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Trevor Rosen use superb imagery to bring this ode to bars to life. From the opening verse about various colors (“the sky in Cheyenne, Wyoming is just about as blue as it gets, and if you ain’t seen a Santa Fe sunset you ain’t seen red”) to the stellar chorus (“neon the light they always leave on, a weekend on the rocks, an old school jukebox with a little Johnny Lee on…”), the song provides some of the most well written and creative lyrics I’ve heard in a country ballad. The song’s lyrics, though, would be nothing without the smooth vocals from Young.  Judging by the vocals he’s laid down on every album, I don’t think we’ve ever heard the country crooner belt out a sour note. Which is why it’s no surprise that the brilliant balladeer provides an incredibly controlled vocal performance that shows off nearly every facet of the singer’s vocal range.

All in all this is another stellar single from one of today’s most consistent male country artists. Look for this song to climb up the charts just as fast, if not quicker, than his previous chart-toppers. And if it doesn’t, then shame on country radio for letting an incredible single like this not be heard.

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