Album Spotlight: Scotty McCreery, ‘See You Tonight’ – ToC Critic’s Pick
"Dynamic" could be a one-word review of Scotty McCreery's sophomore album, 'See You Tonight.' The 20-year-old's follow-up to his post-'American Idol' debut leans into life's exciting edges. The songwriting and production -- especially the production -- are sharp, but most exciting is the new sides of this singer fans see for the very first time.
'Buzzin'' is a perfect representation of the 13 tracks on 'See You Tonight.' "Some like to sip, some like to chug / Some like to dip, some light one up," McCreery sings before describing how he gets his buzz on, while a rolling banjo keeps your foot thumping throughout the nearly four-minute track.
Sure, these lyrics are pretty tame in comparison to what's already on country radio, and in the end the song doesn't compromise his squeaky-clean image. But it's nice to see McCreery flirting with danger, as he does often on the new project, which hits stores Oct. 15.
'Now' kicks off seven straight strong songs to start the album. It'd be a great choice for a second single, because those who've dismissed McCreery as a caricature will be forced to take another look at him. Vocally, he introduces a new style that resurfaces on 'Feelin' It,' 'Buzzin'' and 'Can You Feel It.'
A ballad called 'Feel Good Summer Song' may be the best song the former 'Idol' winner has cut to date. McCreery doesn't just sing about hurt on this track, he clearly reaches back to a painful memory and relives it. "Since you're gone / I can't hear another feel good summer song / The sunshine only lights up what is wrong / I should just give in and sing along," he sings during a chorus that will inevitably draw favorable comparisons to Keith Urban's ''Til Summer Comes Around.' It's a strong compliment.
Tracks eight to 10 are a dip before 'See You Tonight' finishes strong with 'Carolina Moon' (an Alison Krauss collaboration that adds major credibility to the project) and 'Something More,' McCreery's not-so-subtle statement about the type of music he enjoys -- and more interestingly, the type he's sick of hearing. Only 'The Dash' leaves one reaching forward to hit the "skip" button. The message is cliche, and the concept difficult to embrace.
Frank Rogers guides McCreery through the album, producing the whole thing and co-writing several songs. His vocal mix allows other elements to help carry the load -- the burden isn't solely on McCreery this time -- but most importantly, he finds an organic, yet contemporary blend that fits the North Carolinian like a tailored suit.
'Feelin' It' pushes the young singer to the edge of his comfort zone -- it's Florida Georgia Line-ish -- but that's good. A true artist learns to embrace that inner anxiety caused by doing or saying something new and unexpected.
Tracks to Remember: 'Get Gone With You,' 'Feel Good Summer Song,' 'Buzzin',' 'Carolina Moon'
Did You Know?: McCreery says the songs he helped write ('Now,' 'Can You Feel It,' 'I Don't Wanna Be Your Friend,' 'Something More' and the title track) are the ones he's excited for fans to hear, but also 'Carolina Moon.' He calls the duet with Alison Krauss the most country song on the record.