Be careful listening to 'Neon,' Chris Young's new single. It's dangerously easy to get lost listening to this singer, who is one of the truly great male vocalists in modern country music. In this song, he plays with notes high and low like a cat plays with a ball of yarn, sort of batting them back and forth, always in control.

"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," Young sings to begin the song.

When you listen to singers on reality television shows, they're forever trying to show all that they're capable of in one 90-second audition and it's usually to their detriment. The range Young so effortlessly shows in 'Neon' is what they're aiming for. The title track from his most recent album is a little sleepy and not as instantly memorable as some others, but the song is long on talent and imagery.

The chorus goes, "My favorite color is neon / the light they always leave on / A weekend on the rocks / And an old school jukebox / With a little Johnny Lee on."

Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Trevor Rosen's subject matter will leave some listeners out in the cold, but Young can't be blamed for wanting to show that he's more than just a country romancer. “A few thousand volts / To cut through the smoke / The windows are tinted / That’s why they invented / Neon."

As far as love letters to bars go, 'Neon' is amongst the best -- but that's a genre that collects fans less quickly than love letters to members of the opposite sex. Had Young released another traditional love song, however -- 'Lost' is amongst the best of the rest on 'Neon' -- he'd be in danger of being pigeonholed as the guy who can only sing sweet and sexy mood-setters. That would be a very unfortunate mis-characterization, as he's proven to be much more than that on his last two full-length albums.

4 Stars

Listen to Chris Young's 'Neon'

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