Album Review: Chris Lane’s ‘Girl Problems’
Chris Lane is the latest country artist pushing genre lines with his sultry falsetto and smooth R&B rhythms. Interestingly, the singer credits singing Usher as helping to shape his sound. When producer Joey Moi (Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen) overheard his falsetto singing style while humming an Usher song, he urged Lane to try that approach on what would come to be his new album, Girl Problems. The result is a combination of country, pop and R&B influences that blends remarkably well together on Lane’s 12-song release out Friday (Aug. 5).
“I’m so glad we discovered that,” Lane says. “It’s out of the box for country music, and that’s how I like to be.”
Not unlike Florida Georgia Line and Sam Hunt before him, Lane continues to break down barriers within the country genre. While at first listen, he sounds more pop than country, the instrumentation and story lines within each song showcase his appreciation for country music.
“I love what Florida Georgia Line is doing, and what Sam Hunt has done,” Lane adds. “They have created something that was unique to country that nobody else had tried. That’s how I strive to create music, too. To infuse so many different aspects and influences into one unique sound, that always pushes forward.”
This new creation is treating Lane incredibly well as his single “Fix” currently sits at Top 5 on the country charts. Written by Sarah Buxton, Jesse Frasure and Abe Stoklasa, “Fix” features Lane’s high falsetto and it is this singing style that differentiates him on today’s country radio. Listeners clearly responded to the song as “Fix” accumulated the most first week single adds from a debut male artist in Country Aircheck history.
Throughout Girl Problems, Lane showcases his ability to branch out and make every song — even a cover — his own. On the album he covers Mario’s 2004 hit “Let Me Love You” and transforms the well-known R&B track into a sexy country ballad complete with banjo. A song Lane has played in his live show for years, the audience reception convinced him to record it for the album and rightfully so as it’s one of the standout tracks on Girl Problems.
While there is distinct R&B and hip-hop influences throughout the album, Lane’s penchant for boy bands is also apparent. A fan of the Backstreet Boys himself, Lane says “For Her” is his Backstreet Boys moment on the album. The three-and-a-half minute track sounds like something the boy band would cut themselves if given the chance. A song about a girl that makes him drop all his plans and blow all his money for, “For Her” is a banjo-driven love song that best showcases Lane’s falsetto. Meanwhile, “Who’s It Gonna Be” sounds like something another boy band member would cut — namely Justin Timberlake. The sexy song showcases Lane’s swagger as he tries to convince a girl to leave her man in the dust for him.
While the party anthems are plenty like the laid-back “Saturday Night,” sexy “All the Time” and Florida Georgia Line-esque “Her Own Kind of Beautiful,” Lane shines most on the falsetto-infused ballads. On “Back to Me” he lets a love go find herself while hoping that she’ll run back to him. Though it’s a topic that’s been covered before, the yearning and hurt in his vocals make it unique. Meanwhile, “All About You,” which Lane co-wrote with Andy Albert and Jordan Schmidt, is an updated take on Rascal Flatts’ “Take Me There.” Alongside finger-snapped rhythms Lane is asking his girl to be vulnerable and open up to him.
“Get emotional, make it personal, tell me everything you ever wanted me to know / Every up, every down, every side of you / All of the good, all of the bad all of the hurtin’ you’ve been through / Anything and everything you’ve ever dreamed your whole life,” he sings.
While Girl Problems is far from a traditional country album as it blends country with pop and R&B, Lane manages to offer a fresh perspective on today’s country music. Influences including everyone from Florida Georgia Line to the Backstreet Boys are apparent but Lane never phones it in or is predictable. Whether it’s his sultry falsetto or R&B rhythms, he makes each song unabashedly his and it is this originality that can only further his success within the ever-changing genre.
Girls Problems is available for pre-order HERE.