Review: Chris Young, “The Man I Want To Be”

Chris YoungOne 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

Grade: B-


  1. While I am glad that Chris has finally made a breakthrough, I wish he had been able to do it with higher-quality material. I do like his CD, and think he makes the best of it, but he has so much potential that isn’t being met quite yet. Maybe he needs to make the breakthrough first, and then find the quality later.

  2. Leeann says: “One thing that mainstream country music still has in abundance is artists with great voices”.

    On the recent CMA awards show, I thought there was a scarcity of great voices. The great voice of Chris Young would have been a welcome addition.

  3. You’re exactly right about the song. It’s so generic that I don’t think I could stand it by a lesser singer. Chris Young saves it because there’s something kind of naturally regretful about his tone that adds some subtext to the song. I’ll be excited when they release something else from the album.

  4. I completely disagree with your opinion of this song. I think it’s an impressive song and it will touch MANY people. It’s a prayer of sorts and very moving. The voice behind the song makes it even more mesmerizing. Chris Young is 24 years old. He has a HUGE talent and I look forward to what his future holds.

  5. I have to agree with Kari…and to disagree with your opinion as well. The emotion that Chris portrays with his amazing vocals while singing this song has left me in tears more than once. Love it and can’t wait to see what else he has for us!

  6. I respectfully disagree with your assessment regarding Chris’ song, The Man I Want To Be. This is a song that I think will make a crossover to Christian music easily, as well as impact country music because of the lyrics AND Chris’ wonderful baritone.

    I’m sorry you find the lyrics a distraction, however, I think a lot of people will find the lyrics quote thought-provoking.

  7. I quite like this song =) Like his last single, his voice is just too enjoyable to listen and I don’t think the material is all that bad either.

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