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Chris Young, ‘Neon’ – Lyrics Uncovered

Chris Young
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

The lyrics to Chris Young‘s new hit on the rise, ‘Neon,’ might appear to be tricky, as only so many words rhyme with “neon.” But the song’s three writers — Trevor Rosen, Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally — crafted it in such a way that it works. Young snagged the tune for his third studio album, which he named after the song.

“Josh, Shane and I were writing in my living room one day,” Rosen tells Taste of Country, speaking of the day the trio wrote the tune. “Shane was going through some titles and song ideas he had, like he often does when we get ready to write. We paused when he said ‘Neon’ and we talked about what that title might be about for a couple minutes. Then he kept going with some more titles. At one point, Josh and I said, ‘You know … there’s something to that ‘Neon’ idea,’ and we started singing all these different rhymes for the word ‘neon,’ which ended up being the main structure of the chorus.”

Neon, the light they always leave on / A weekend on the rocks / And an old school jukebox / With a little Johnny Lee on / The buzz I love to be on / You put a double on your troubles / The light at this end of the tunnel is Neon,” they wrote as the lyrics for the ‘Neon’ chorus.

“I don’t remember who came up with it, but when we got the rhyme ‘with a little Johnny Lee on,’ we knew we were all in and off to the races,” Rosen adds with a smile. “I remember starting to chunk on the verse melody, and the line, ‘The sky in Cheyenne, Wyoming is just about as blue as it gets,’ kind of fell right out. We immediately jumped on board and started painting scenes about other colors, too.”

The sky in Cheyenne, Wyoming / Is just about as blue as it gets / And if you ain’t seen a Santa Fe sunset / You ain’t seen red / Texas sunflower yellow / Can take your breath away / I’ve seen it all / From the orange of the fall / To the green of the summer,” they wrote in the song’s opening lyrics.

“It’s funny because I remember writing the song as clear as day, but at the time it’s happening you could never predict in a million years that the ideas and melodies you’re throwing out to your friends in your living room on any given day are eventually going to turn into a song that gets cut by a major artist and gets played on the radio,” he says, beaming. “I guess that’s part of what keeps us so excited to do it every day — you just never know. We love finding those ideas to write about that aren’t your typical ideas, be it a love song or heartbreak song, etc. I think that’s why a song about being drawn to the neon — a love song to a bar — really intrigued us.”

“When we finished it, of course we were like, ‘We gotta get this to George Strait right away!’” Rosen continues. “Celia at Black River, Josh’s publishing company, actually pitched the work tape we made that day to Chris Young, and he put it on hold just from hearing the work tape. Chris did such an amazing job on the song, we look back now and are so thankful he got to hear it before George or anybody else, because we can’t imagine the song being in better hands! It’s funny how one little word idea that Shane casually jotted down on his phone could lead to what it has.”

Listen to Chris Young, 'Neon'

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