Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
Brett Young had a hit out of the box with "Sleep Without You," as ear candy of a song. His soulful vocals carry the percolating song that seemed designed with airplay in mind. If Young were a band, this is the type of song that Rascal Flatts might cover. In fact, the airplay bent could be said of most of the dozen songs on the Californian's major label debut after five indie releases.
"Close Enough" has a funky side, trying to get the singalong going with the opening repeated lines "I can't get you close enough/I can't get you close enough" and a few "whoah ohs" interspersed, almost begging to ask fans to sing along with him. It's catchy, but doesn't exactly dig all that deep.
Make no mistake that Young's vocal delivery is satisfying, a bit gritty. The piano driven "Mercy" works well in showcasing Young's sensitive, emotive side. Young slows it down a bit on "You Ain't Here to Kiss Me" in a more mournful delivery with the liquor not helping him in a love gone wrong song. More material like that would have been welcome because, otherwise, Young is one of a long line of country singers with a soulful sound that goes down real easy.
The problem though is exactly that - Young is another cog in the machine. The songs are interchangeable pretty much, almost all focusing on love lost and found. "You're my everything in case you didn't know," Young sings
In case you didn't know" with further lines "you had my heart a long long time ago." A few other song titles may suffice - the second single "Left Side of Leaving" and "Beautiful Believer." An occasional drinking them surfaces on "Back on the Wagon," which sounds a bit too pleasant as well for talking on the perils of drinking.
The material is satisfying, even pleasant, but Young did not pick songs that were ready to be canonized as among the greatest country love songs.
Young probably has done what one is supposed to do these days with a debut - attract some airplay, playing it ultra safe by not taking chances and hopefully build a career. Not projections on the future, but for Young, anyway, two out of three ain't bad.