Release Date: Oct 4, 2011
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Country, Contemporary Country, Country-Pop
Eighteen-year-old Scotty McCreery won the 10th season of American Idol with a surprisingly deep voice and a more formidable smirk. His debut – a ho-hum jaunt through an America full of dog-eared Bibles, rugged pickup trucks and girls "hot as July, sweet as sunshine" – works overtime playing up his wide-eyed charm. Of the ballads, the least icky is the title track, a tear-jerker about a car accident à la "Jesus, Take the Wheel." The bright spot here is the rollicking Keith Urban co-write "Walk in the Country," where McCreery sneers, "I'm so sick of all them TV shows." Listen to "The Trouble With Girls": Related• The Winners and Losers of 'American Idol'• Video: Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina Answer Reader Questions .
Scotty McCreery may be the oldest 18-year-old alive. On Clear as Day, American Idol‘s latest champ sounds like he’s 52, and not just because of the Randy Travis baritone coming from his Opie Taylor mouth. It’s that he’s anticipating being ”old and gray” and reliving high school memories that are still ”clear as day” (um, that’s because he hasn’t graduated yet).
Winning American Idol on the strength his dopey grin and cornball down-home appeal, Scotty McCreery delivers his debut, Clear as Day, just five months after taking home the big prize, the quickest turn around in Idol history. Forget whatever this portends about the health of the television show or the power of Scotty’s personality: it does suggest that McCreery is the easiest of all Idols to fit within the pre-existing machinery of the music industry. Possessing no distinct persona outside of the good guy next door, McCreery can sing any generic Nashville number, and so he does on Clear as Day, singing songs about sweet tea, pecan pies, country, football, the King James bible, mom, water towers, and, of course, love.
It was a given that Scotty McCreery was going to win American Idol‘s 10th season. Nigel Lythgoe was desperate for a winner who could sell records and make his show seem relevant again, despite the fact that, since the start of the Idol Machine, the music industry had shifted on crumbling bedrock and sales weren’t as guaranteed as the industry wished they still were. From the moment the judges first gushed over McCreery’s deeper-than-his-baby-face-would-indicate vocals, it was a foregone conclusion that teenage viewers from coast to coast would vote in blocks to keep him on the show.
Scotty McCreery started out the most recent season of “American Idol” as a scrawny stick with a deep and hollow voice and an Alfred E. Neuman grin. By the time the show ended, he’d become a Nashville slickster would-be, with exaggerated gestures and bulging swagger. Lauren Alaina arrived at the show a savant, a flexible singer with preternatural confidence and a gift for interpretation.
It’s no surprise that Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger executive produced this gem based around songs about… well, dudes. Mead’s vocals and delivery are reminiscent of a Paul Simon/10CC/Steely Dan/FOW mashup, but the music is all sparkling, effervescent, hooky pop with spicy, witty lyrics you’ll be singing after the first spin. The sweet arrangements which stretch from strings to rocking guitars jump out of the speakers with a ’70s mindset best exemplified by the tongue in cheeky “No One Roxx This Town No More.