I'm Comin' Over

by: Chris Young

He's had hits that rock a little and he hasn't been averse to buffing his country so it gleams like Luke Bryan, but Chris Young's ace in the hole has always been his ballads. So relaxed he seems broken-in, not lazy, Young never oversells either his heartbreak or seduction, a skill not every singer has. Wisely, Young and his collaborator Corey Crowder choose to spotlight the singer's softer side on I'm Coming Over, the first album the two produced solely together. There are some sunnier shifts of tone peppered throughout the album -- "Sunshine Overtime" is as cheerful as its title, "You Do the Talkin'" pulsates to crossover-friendly eighth notes, and "Heartbeat" opens the proceedings with a touch of urgency -- but the overall vibe of I'm Coming Over is so warm and slow that even the pounding Eric Church homage "Underdogs" winds up feeling subdued. This isn't a bug -- it's a feature: the strength of I'm Coming Over is its mellow assurance, to which Young adds a shade of gravity with his gravelly voice, a touch of down-home flair that never seems affected. While some early fans may wind up pining for the lingering traditionalism that characterized the launch of his career -- there's not so much as a feint toward twang, not even with Vince Gill sitting in on "Sober Saturday Night" -- there's little doubt that this softer, mainstream iteration of Chris Young not only suits him but spurs the singer to deliver the strongest album of his career. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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