Chris Cagle

Chris Cagle

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AllMusic Review by

Though there are moments when he's clearly trying a little too hard, Chris Cagle delivers a generally agreeable set on his sophomore release. There are a few problems: the extremely crisp production has almost too much presence and the artist and his musicians seem to be emoting about an inch in front of the listener's nose. And Cagle's writing leans too often on the creaky formula of hanging the song on the hook of a knee-slap punch line. This can work as long as the language feels natural, like something someone in the country demographic might actually say -- which is why "we're not growing old, we're growing love" misses the mark on "Growin' Love," for example. (Cagle's decision to rhyme "change" with "change" in the same song is even more awkward.) Elsewhere, though, his earnest, nasal singing and overall exuberance sell even the weaker material, and where he comes up with a writing gimmick that's actually fresh, such as the chronological breakdown of a happy relationship on "What a Beautiful Day," he hits a clean home run.

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