Chris Young – A.M. – Album Review

For my fortieth review… well, things get a little brighter, both musically and otherwise, as I review a great new country album from Chris Young.


If you’d like to skip through the majority of my preamble, go to 3:18

Text review of ‘A.M.’:

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Noah Eaton says:

(4) Another chief criticism I’ve had with Young upon releasing “Chief”, and which concerns “A.M.” as well, is that the majority of his songs lack a distinctive point of view. Most of the songs on either album could have been performed by any other male artist with inferior vocal strength in Nashville. Rodney Atkins could have sang “Old Love Feels New” and Jake Owen could have sang “She’s Got This Thing About Her” on “Neon”. Here, Lee Brice could have sang “Goodbye” and Kip Moore “Forgiveness”.

Noah Eaton says:

While I commend you for another thorough and thoughtful review, and respect you for backing everything up, I have to contend with numerous aspects of your review in that I, myself, was significantly more underwhelmed by “A.M.” just as I was its predecessor.

Firstly, “Aw Naw” is easily his worst single to date (“Neon” being his best) in my opinion. Why? Firstly, the mixing is marred by the scourge known as “loudness wars”. It is ridiculously loud and the production clunky.

Noah Eaton says:

(2) In addition, it comes across as a desperate trend-chasing moment for him, especially when its two predecessors “Neon” and “I Can Take It From There” had a decidedly neo-traditional flavor to them and the latter was able to reach the Top Five on the country singles chart. It may just be my interpretation, but it just comes across as yet another frat-boy country anthem where the narrator may acknowledge he was intending to leave, but can’t resist overindulging all the same.

Noah Eaton says:

(7) So where do I stand here? I’d probably give “A.M.” a 6/10. Young’s vocals and conviction more often than not can take any song to the next level, even though he is suffocated by misguided selections in up-tempo, frat-boy heavy tracks. And there are no particularly embarrassing moments lyrically here either, nor does Young submit himself to the country-rap pandemic. However, in writing and selecting tracks without a compelling point of view or depth, much can’t help but be left desired.

Noah Eaton says:

(3) “Aw Naw” just doesn’t fit Young’s persona, especially on the chorus. It sounds much better suited for the likes of Aldean and Brantley Gilbert. Not just here, but on the title track and “We’re Gonna Find It Tonight” as well. At the very least Young, who has yet to reach his thirties, doesn’t feel awkwardly out of place referencing bouncers, DJs, and asking a hottie what her name is (when Aldean or Bryan do so, it sounds creepy)……..but he still appears out of place on tracks like these.

Noah Eaton says:

(5) I can certainly agree that Young and his songwriting cohorts rarely pander to Southern pride and other laundry-list song descriptors, but it does happen a little more often on this album than on “Neon” and even when it doesn’t, Young is handed material more often than not that is lackluster and fails to give him the space to fully flex his vocal chops (of which I am in full agreement with you he is easily one of the best vocalists of his generation).

Noah Eaton says:

(6) That said, sometimes Young’s exemplary vocals can lift otherwise painfully average material. Two good examples are “Who Am I With You” and “Lighters in the Air”. The former is rather lightweight with fewer words than any other track on the album, yet the dialed-down production and gravitas provides the opportunity for him to elevate the track to the next level. And with the latter, Bryan effectively takes another lunkheaded Spring Break song on paper to his take on “Springsteen”.

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