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Never Love You Enough by Chely Wright

Chely Wright's fifth and newest album opens with its hit title track, a soaring, open-armed embrace of the joyous rush of love. After that, things get a little trickier - much of Never Love You Enough is dedicated to the dark spaces between men and women.

For instance, hot on the heels of that delirious title song is "Jezebel," a rip-snorting, fiddle-fueled, get-your-hands-off-my-fella song in the tradition of Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough" - it's a lively stomper country enough to feature the singer/protagonist taking off barefoot down a mountain to fight for what's hers. Later, Chely copes with another other woman in "Wouldn't It Be Cool," dumps her noncommittal guy for someone else in "While I Was Waiting," and in the heart-wrenching "Her," the singer is the other woman. It actually comes as a surprise when the passion she sings about in "Not As In Love" runs out of steam without outside interference.

Even the happy endings on Never Love You Enough are hard-fought. "One Night In Las Vegas," one of several cuts Chely wrote with fellow rising star Brad Paisley (and featuring Brad's warm harmony vocals on the chorus), is a catalog of a couple's difficulties, and of the little joys they cling to in order to stay together. "Love Didn't Listen" and the elegant "For The Long Run" also celebrate the durability of love in the face of doubt and trouble, while post-heartbreak hope springs eternal on the jaunty "Horoscope."

So why get your hands messy in such sticky interpersonal politics of love? The finale, "Deep Down Low" - perhaps tellingly, the only song written by Chely alone - offers an explanation for the expanses of darkness creeping through the album: The deep down low, she sings, makes level feel so high.

Tying all these little joys and big woes together is the unmistakable personality in Chely's expressive voice. Throughout, she makes it clear that her breakthrough with 1999's Single White Female was no fluke - and unlike the characters in Never Love You Enough's fractured love affairs, Chely's in it for keeps.

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