Chris Young Powers 'AM' to Big Debut; Watch a Track-By-Track Interview

Chris Young photographed at the Billboard Studio in New York City

Kate Glicksberg

Chris Young has been leading a busy life these days. The RCA recording artist has been promoting his new album, "AM," which bows at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 this week, his highest-charting album to date. 

He admits that the sound of the album -- which he breaks down for us in this track-by-track video -- is a little bit more progressive than his three past projects, at least on some of the cuts.

"Where a lot of people will notice it is on the tempo stuff on this record. I really felt like I've had a few up tempo songs at radio, but really nothing aggressive," he told us. "My tempos were always 'Voices' or 'You,' which are really more mid. I had a pretty good handle on mids and ballads and what I wanted to say with them. I felt I had locked in where I could do those well. I always felt like the tempos were the album cuts, so I really went after that on this record with James Stroud. 

Young said he really paid close attention to the tempo on lead single "Aw Naw," currently at No. 12 on Hot Country Songs.

"It's very different than what we've put out before, but still very much me, and something I would say. It's not anything too out there, just a fun party song," he says. "That was the thought process going in from the very get go, was to do something sonically different on this record."

But, he stresses that his fans don't need to panic. He's not doing a complete change in style. 

"People would ask me 'You're not getting rid of your ballads, are you?' I said 'No. Just because we might do one thing differently – that's just part of me growing as an artist.' I'm never going to be so different from one album to the next that people will think I've changed so much. You're going to hear tracks on this album like 'Hold You To It' that wouldn't have been out of place on the prior records, but there will be some stuff that goes with it on this record – that would have been out of place on the records before."

Young says he felt the timing of the new project worked out perfectly. "For me, we went four deep on the last album, so there's not this huge gap between the last record and this one. We pretty much went from 'I Can Take It From There' to 'Aw Naw' in a month and a week."

Fans of the singer will also be pleased to know he's fully recovered from a serious leg infection that landed him in a Denver hospital last month.

"It was scary," he admitted. "It was one of those random things. People asked me 'What did you do?' I didn't do anything. I had a small cut on the inside of my leg from an ingrown hair, and thought it was healed up and fine. It ended up getting bacteria in it, and got in my bloodstream. I took off from Nashville on a flight, and by the time we got to Denver, they had to wheel me off of a plane because I was septic shock. It got really serious that night to the point that they weren't going to put me in surgery to begin with, and they had me on three different blood pressure medications, but it was still dropping. They were worried about organ failure, so they put me in surgery. Luckily, I was in Denver, and not somewhere small."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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