Friday, January 20, 2012

Music Review: Chris Young's Neon

With Chris Young’s third contribution to country music, titled Neon, he leaves the ladies wishing “Tomorrow” will never come. This twenty-six-year-old country singer/song writer is more than a baritone voice, energetic personality and striking stature that makes Wranglers and a Stetson look better than they should.
          Young, the winner of Nashville Star in 2006, struggled to find a look and sound of his own. Mistaken for an unauthentic good ol’ boy, his musical future seemed dim. The gripping emotion that was slightly repressed in Young’s first two albums bursts through with lush and charismatic vigor in Neon; he pours his soul into his lyrics.
Young is no stranger to rowdy drinking songs, but with the aid of his boyish charm, he consistently projects a wholesome image. Ironically in the bouncy “Save Water, Drink Beer”—a track about a small town coping during a drought—he radiates the appearance of the fun-loving boy-next-door.
It’s the sensitive and often sincerely romantic tracks that showcase the Tennessee-born singer’s deep moral code and subsequently penetrate listeners’ radar. “She’s Got This Thing about Her” is one of the most poignant tunes with a simple, yet elegant piano and violin melody embracing magnetic lyrics. Young charmingly attempts to explain how a special someone has captured his heart. With lines describing her as reminding him of “a hymn in a cathedral hall/watching April snowflakes fall”, it’s no wonder he was named country music’s most eligible bachelor.
 Young admirably plays the voice of reason in a smooth ballad titled “Don’t Leave Her if You Can’t Let Her Go”. He implores a wayward buddy to mend a troublesome relationship with lyrics as stirring as “If you can’t stand to see her dancing in someone else’s arms/well that’s all you need to know.” Young claimed four consecutive number one hits with his distinctive voice—as smooth and strong as a dusty bottle of Scotch—paired with hearty, relatable lyrics.
 Even in Young’s upbeat and rather feisty “I Can Take it From There”, lustful lyrics come across tenderly and are never crass. In this hit, he less than subtly pledges that running around town isn’t nearly as enticing as staying in with the promise of other physical pursuits. The playful whining of the steel guitar and toe-tapping percussion harmonized with the cheeky hook, “…baby, while you’re at it, you might as well let down your hair/and I can take it from there”, is lively and will leave you feeling giddy.
The first single released from Neon, a ballad simply, yet fittingly titled “Tomorrow”, has had fans loyally clicking the buy button on iTunes. This lovely melody, paired with emotionally evocative lyrics, will pluck at your heartstrings. Young begins by listing reasons why he should walk away from his current relationship. With provocative prose like these: “We’re like fire and gasoline…we only bring each other tears and sorrow”, he seduces his listeners into thinking he’s halfway out the door, only to soulfully add, “But tonight, I’m gonna love you like there’s no tomorrow.” (500 Words)

Character Review: Sheldon Cooper

“You’re in my spot!” is what Sheldon Cooper, the breakout character of The Big Bang Theory, would accuse if he found you encroaching on the left cushion of the couch. Toting degrees stacked higher than his inspiring comic book collection, Sheldon is a multifaceted blend of a child prodigy turned inflexible scientist—loveable and exasperating. Sheldon eclipses the other characters with obsessive-compulsive ease. He’s socially inept, obscenely, yet innocently lacks humility, and possesses a snazzy collection of superhero t-shirts.
According to Sheldon, romantic relationships are baffling, repulsive and reek of “unnecessary touching.” He’d much rather spend the evening with his label maker, quoting Spock, or playing Klingon Boggle. Knowledgeable about everything but vexing social situations, Sheldon’s unwitting and reluctant journey to understanding sarcasm is brilliant. His sober alterations of misogynistic slang: “male comrades before women who sell their bodies for money” are matchless. Trademarked by his “classic pranks” and his coinage of “Bazinga!”, it’s as if Sheldon exists in a universe all his own.
Ever a creature of habit, Sheldon transforms into a tantrum-wielding toddler when his routine is disrupted (always knock three times, “laundry night” is Saturday at 8:15 and pizza is to be eaten on Thursdays). Labeled “one lab accident away from being a super-villain,” by his roommate, Sheldon excels in his antagonistic glory. His peculiar facial expressions, derisive snorts and over-the-top idiosyncrasies will suck you in and ensure your gravitation toward the next Sheldon-centric episode where someone will inexorably touch his food or sit in his spot. (250 words)