The Best of Chris Cagle

Chris Cagle

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The Best of Chris Cagle Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Chris Cagle’s country play a little sweeter than most, sounding cuddly even when he pumps up the volume with rocking guitars, which is most of the time. That sweet streak gave Cagle a good run of hits during the 2000s, and 2010’s The Best of Chris Cagle collects all of those that charted in Billboard’s Country Top 40 (leaving 2006’s “Anywhere But Here” and 2008’s “No Love Songs” behind, since neither got higher than 52). The hits -- including the Top Ten “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out,” “What a Beautiful Day,” “Chicks Dig It,” and “What Kinda Gone” -- aren’t sequenced in chronological order; they’re paced with the rhythm of a set list, opening and closing with bursts of energy and spending a lot of time riding a midtempo in the middle. The sequencing illustrates Cagle’s consistency -- not much separates any one of his four albums from the next -- which in turn paints the singer as a bit of a softie, favoring a gentle melody to grit, and sounding a little like a pushover when he’s raising hell, but these are the qualities that gave him a career, and they’re amply evident on this generous hits comp.

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