One thing that mainstream country music still has in abundance is artists with great voices. Chris Young can easily be counted among such talent, but he is also firmly in the category of artists with quality voices saddled with inferior material.
Supported by a simple melody with a chorus that overreaches for memorability, “The Man I Want to Be” also stretches to work within the confines of a lyrical hook: “I want to be a (insert adjective or verb here) man” pervades the song and turns out to be more of a distraction than a clever turn of phrase.
As has been the case with most of Young’s previous singles, “The Man I Want to Be” deserves lots of credit for a stellar vocal performance, solid contemporary country production and for being a generally inoffensive composition. Likewise, much like his previous singles, Young’s newest single is all of those things to its detriment. Young’s powerful baritone is the type of voice that calls for strong material in order for the song to sound worthy of the singer. While “The Man I Want to Be” is passable as a song in general, the lyrical and melodic weaknesses are still impossible to overlook.
Written by Brett James & Tim Nichols