Chris Cagle (Capitol Records)
Two years ago, Chris Cagle came roaring out of the gate with the stomping "My Love Goes On And On." Much of his debut CD, Play It Loud, was just as hard-charging -- tough-minded, rocked-up country with an in-your-face attitude.
Fans might be surprised, then, to cue up Chris' self-titled second album and hear the hit "What A Beautiful Day" pouring out of the speakers. Sweetly tinkling piano gives way to a sentimental ode about enduring love, told through a rostering of the milestones in one couple's career.
"What A Beautiful Day" isn't false advertising, either -- this album finds the budding star in a much more romantic mood than in his debut. Whether it's the result of his Sept. 2001 wedding or just a natural mellowing, there's definitely a softer side showing on his new CD.
Most of the 11 tracks seem to salute a near-mythical perfect woman. Chris blissfully sings the praises of his loved one on "Everything" and "Look What I've Found," declares himself unworthy of her on "Just Love Me," and even celebrates her shortcomings on "I Love It When She Does That" ("Everything that's wrong with her is perfect for me, he sings) and "It Takes Two." And when things go wrong, it's not her fault -- he beats himself up for screwing up a good thing on "I'd Be Lying" and "Look What I've Done."
Fans of Chris' rowdier side will have to be contented with the devil-may-care "Chicks Dig It" and the party anthem "Night On The Country." But if you'd rather hear a bad boy's tender heart, Chris Cagle fills the bill.