Thursday, September 15, 2011

Clear As Day Track by Track Review

Here is a track by track review of Scotty's album!

Even for a devoted Idol fan like me, prior to the start of Season 10, things didn’t look good for TV’s #1 show. But, thanks to a new panel of judges, a new Executive Producer, a new mentor, and most importantly, a new pool of talent, Idol exceeded expectations for many this past year. With a new record label working with this year’s talent, the hope was that there would be a renewed sense of excitement and anticipation for worthwhile products. After having the pleasure of listening to advance copies of Scotty McCreery’s and Lauren Alaina’s albums, it is my belief that order has been restored and the finalists you fell in love with on the show are ready to take over the charts with their debut albums.

Below, I give my thoughts on each of the tracks from Scotty’s album, Clear As Day, which is due out on October 4, and can be pre-ordered now at

Many of the greatest country songs are those that vividly tell stories, and Scotty’s title track, “Clear As Day,” certainly fits this description. My first thought was for the fans that have missed his lower register, they are in for a great treat. As the song progressed, it became clear (as day) that the words readily paint a picture for listeners. It nearly demands its own music video! Without spoiling the song, I will say the general idea of this track is that he’s taken a moment to himself to reflect on past memories, and “every detail is still in place.” This relatively slow tempo tune has a beautiful chorus and most of the verses put a smile on your face. But watch out for the final thirty seconds of the song, the ending surprised me.

“Water Tower Town” is an up tempo track that instantly had me dancing in my chair. I can testify to the fact that this song accurately captures the essence of life in a small town. It’s equipped with references to Friday night football, sweat tea and fireflies. There is no doubt in my mind that this song is perfect for Scotty. It’s very believable and relatable, even for the city folk. And, I would venture to say that out of all the tracks on the Idol champ’s album, this could be the best fit for radio.

I like the arrangement of “Walk In The Country” because it has a modern flare to it, characteristic of many Keith Urban co-writes. The song is about getting away from the TV and venturing outside to enjoy what nature has to offer. It’s about appreciating sunsets and the like. My only criticism is that the song doesn’t really develop all that much; therefore, it lacks depth and variation. But, not every song can be my favorite I suppose.

“Better Than That” starts off with Scotty recalling some of the firsts in his life, such as the first time he saw the ocean and the first time he drove a Chevy. Then he professes that the love of his sweetheart is “better, better, better than that.” I have to admit, this song is very cute and I think the young girls will take a liking to it. It is most certainly the most pop-sounding track on the album.

I was probably most excited to hear “Write My Number On Your Hand” before receiving the album, and it didn’t disappoint. Is that a ukulele in the intro? Why yes it is! This track is light with a very chill vibe to it. It has one of those choruses that you can instantly remember and sing along to. I challenge you to not have the desire to bop your head back and forth. This song just has an amazing ability to instantly put you in a good mood. Oh, and the little “uhhhhh huh” at the end is perfect.

“Dirty Dishes” is an interesting ballad. The song is basically about a mother giving thanks for things we might normally write off as irritating, like noisy children, and you guessed it, dirty dishes. It has a really fantastic message about appreciation and brings a unique perspective to today’s world. I’m still waiting for the tearjerker ballad, but this one definitely has lots of sentimental value. For a record which is undeniably all country, the track listing does provide a very good amount of variation as far as what each song is about, which I appreciate.

“You Make That Look Good” sounds like the perfect summer jam to me. Filled with mud covered 4x4’s, flip flops and pretty girls, it is a classic country hit. The piano gives it a cool honky tonk feel. Although one could say it lacks a distinguishing quality, the song just feels right. It feels like it belongs on every country record.

“Back On The Ground” is a touching song which captures the relationship between a son and his mom. It’s about how teenagers want to distance themselves from their parents, only to be drawn back close to them later in life. “Ain’t it funny how it all comes back around,” Scotty admits. I must say, I’m not a big country fan by any means but what I love so much about the genre, and many of the songs on this album, is the messages the tracks contain. It’s not just about having a catchy beat. Scotty’s music actually says something about him as a mature young man and I would say this record allows listeners to grow closer to him because it is so relatable. I’m also a sucker for songs that end as they begin, and this song does just that.

I’m glad to see Scotty got a song strongly rooted in faith on his album with “That Old King James.” There is no doubt he stayed true to himself throughout the Idol journey and in the recording process that followed, after all there is a “yes ma’am” in this song! The track itself is about a boy getting a Bible at the age of eight and relying on it to get him through the struggles of life. It gets passed down through the family, showing signs of weathering as it moves from generation to generation. References to “yellow lines of teardrop stains”, war and cancer make the song very compelling. The track inherently possesses a sense of finality and I think it’s the perfect way to the end Scotty’s debut solo project.

My review wouldn’t be complete without brief mentions of the three tracks not discussed up until this point. All three have been heard by many of his fans and there has been much written about them, but I will add some quick comments. Opening the album, “Out Of Summertime” truly is the perfect country fair song and it has a very youthful vibe, which complements the rest of the album quite nicely. “I Love You This Big” is, in my mind, a gift from above for him. Seeing Scotty perform it live solidifies my belief that it was the perfect way to introduce radio listeners to this new country artist and I think the success of this first single supports that. I love “The Trouble With Girls” as a song, but if I’m being completely honest, I don’t feel like it was a good match for Scotty. I just don’t think the song represents him accurately. But whatever this song lacks for me, the rest of the album easily makes up for. Overall, this is an album that truly reflects Scotty’s character and an album that I feel will do quite well. I cannot recommend enough that you purchase Clear As Day when it is released on October 4.


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