Friday, March 25, 2011

Chris Young, "Tomorrow"

With the success of his number one hit "Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song)," Chris Young gained entry into the relatively small group of commercially-successful mainstream artists waving the banner for traditional country music, even as the country-pop and country-rock subgenres continually threaten to crowd it out of radio playlists.  As much as we love his steel-laden musical style and emotive deep-throated drawl, he has often had one recurring problem - The quality of his lyrics doesn't always measure up with the other factors.  Fortunately, the first single from his upcoming third album just might be the beginning of an upward climb.

"Tomorrow" tells the story of a relationship that is clearly not working out.  Though it seems a split is imminent, Chris implores his soon-to-be-ex-lover for one last fling before the flame is extinguished for good.  The lyrics give the listener insight into the conflicting emotions of the narrator as his romantic attachment struggles against his better judgment.  It's clear that the situation has been going on for quite some time as Chris tells himself that "Tomorrow I'm gonna let you go and walk away like every day I said I would."  Such sentiments cause us to wonder if we really believe that the narrator will leave like he says he will, and we might wonder if he even believes himself.  He constantly reiterates his determination to end the doomed relationship, saying that "Tomorrow, you won't believe it/ But when I pass by your house, I won't stop/ No matter how much I want to."

It's a beautiful lyric with organic layers beneath the surface, and an added level of maturity.  Chris sounds more invested in the lyrics than ever before in a performance that has just enough restraint to convey the narrator's frustration without beating us over the head with it.  A crying fiddle and a wailing steel guitar echo his pain and heartache.  Without a doubt, "Tomorrow" is Chris Young's finest single to date, with a strong lyric and a deeply emotional performance making it an obvious winner.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)