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Chely Wright

Never Love You Enough – 2001 (MCA)

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

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CDs by Chely Wright

The new-traditionalist tag hung on Chely Wright's early career, and intimate album tracks like "Emma Jean's Guitar," were all but banished with the success of 1999's "Single White Female." Folksiness has given way to the chart-friendly crossover material and arena-styled power-ballads that continue to reign on her latest.

The leadoff track, "Never Love You Enough" resounds with second-generation Beatle influences by way of Badfinger and Klaatu, and "For the Long Run" sports a melodic hook suspiciously reminiscent of Eric Carmen's "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again." Hints of steel and banjo bless many tracks for country radio, but they're often hidden or removable to provide cross-marketing possibilities. Wright continues to sing the ups and downs of relationships, but without the edginess or empowerment of "Single White Female." Her duet with Brad Paisley, "One Night in Las Vegas," celebrates the small moments that define a life partnership, and "What If We Fly" voices, in moving harmony, the difficulty of moving past bad experiences. The centrist, traditional messages may connect with listeners, but they won't push anyone's buttons or boundaries. "Wouldn't It Be Cool," externalizing the flippant thoughts one usually keeps to themselves, is about as challenging as this album gets.

This is a pleasant pop album, but hardly the sort of truly memorable work that Wright is so obviously capable of.