Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Album Review: Clear As Day

Title: Clear As Day
Author: Scotty McCreery
Genre: Country
My Rating *****
Official Rating: teen, young adult
Age Group: 6+, 14+ if you want to understand some of the deeper references

Scotty McCreery appeared out of nowhere, a solidly Christian teen with a deep voice and a love for singing country music. After American Idol, he took off on his journey as a country music artist, still staying grounded in who he was (continuing to play baseball, going to high school, etc). His voice is clear, deep, and very enjoyable to listen to. On top of that, he sings some of the cleanest and down-to-earth country songs encountered these days.

My Thoughts
I admit it. I like Scotty's voice and most of his songs. They're honest, reflecting on a simple life, and almost completely clean. I find it frustrating, turning on the radio and having to switch country stations almost constantly because of what's in the songs. For people who like country music (especially the more traditional stuff), Scotty McCreery is the way to go. The only problem I have with this album is that while the songs are sweet and fun, two times is enough. Many of them can be boring the third time around because half-way through the song all the new lyrics have been used and the rest of the song is usually a slight variation on the chorus. However, if you pay close attention, the slight variation on the chorus is often well worth the third time playing the song.

By Song

"Out of Summertime"
Summary: The singer is at the fair and sees a girl he decides he likes. He mourns, "Oh, she could've been mine, but we ran out of summertime." Then follows the typical summer romance, beaches, names in trees, making plans for the future they won't be able to keep. The singer admits "Of all the things I let get away, she's the one that keeps me awake at night." He throws in one problematic line, "She was hot as July, sweet as sunshine." He does seem to know that they needed more time before they could have truly fallen in love.

"I Love You This Big"
Summary: Scotty starts by saying he's young, but he knows what he's feeling even without experience to back him up on this. He's in love and he wants to explain it, "I love you this big. Eyes have never seen this big. No one's dreamed this big. And I'll spend the rest of my life, explaining what words cannot describe, but I'll try: I love you this big." He then goes through all sorts of clich├ęs (to the moon and back, etc), saying, "Girl you do something to me, deep down in my heart." Then back to that sweet chorus, and that's pretty much the whole song.

"Clear As Day"
Summary: "That night's still clear as day," Scotty recalls, and indeed it is, down to the last minute detail "You hold to what you love. Some things never fade." After a baseball game, he meets up with his girl and they go to a party. She hugs him, saying she likes to watch him play ball, then they leave the party for some "fresh air." They get closer and, "my lips aint never kissed that way." As it comes to an end, she promises to call him--"that's a call you never got to make." "They blamed it on the fog and pourin' rain, and that night's still clear as day."

"The Trouble With Girls"
Summary: "The trouble with girls is they're a mystery" Scotty declares, and he confesses that he's spent a long time trying to figure them out but hasn't made any progress. He sings, "they're so dang pretty. Everything about 'em does something to me, but I guess that's the way it's supposed to be." Smiles, batting eyes, sweet hellos, sad goodbyes, one touch is enough, "sugar and spice and angel wings. Hell on wheels in tight blue jeans," summer nights by the lake, it's hard to find one to like even with so many around, and more. The kiss at the front door leaves him wishing he could go up, then the girl asks him to stay. He concludes, "the trouble with girls is nobody loves trouble as much as me."

"Water Tower Town"
Summery: A reflection on a little town where things are good and simple. People wave, go to church, know the gossip, and work hard. "Friday night football is king, sweet tea is good with everything. Fireflies come out when the sun goes down. Nobody eats till you say 'amen' and everybody knows your mom and them. You can see who loves who from miles around" and that's that. Life is good, simple, and honest.

"Walk in the Country"
Summary: Bored, Scotty takes a walk in the country to escape the chaos of the world (TV shows, ties,. He wants the fresh air and freedom. "Walk in the country with me. Watch the sun sinkin' down on the trees. It's gonna do us some good, to get down in the woods, take a little walk in the country with me."

"Better Than That"
Summary: Scotty's sure this girl's love is "better than that," listing all sorts of great things he had originally thought were the top (first crush, first kiss, fishing, a truck, seeing the ocean, singing, etc). "You love is better, better than that. Nothin' is sweeter than you, makin' my heart beat so fast. Everything I could've been, what was at the end of all those other paths, your love is better than that."

"Write My Number On Your Hand"
Summary: A summer romance involves swimming yet again, this time with the girl in a bikini and the two sharing a Coco Cola, Scotty wanting to kiss her "like an old bullfrog." They talk and Scotty requests, "Write my number on your hand where it's easy to see, and give yours to me. Write my number on your hand where it's easy to see. It'll look good in blue on your sun-kissed tan. Write my number on your hand."

"Dirty Dishes"
Summary: A tribute to his mother, this song of Scotty's is sweet and reflective. With the family at the table, she bows her head and prays, "I wanna thank you Lord, for noisy children and slammin' doors, and clothes scattered all over the floor, a husband workin' all the time, draggin' in dead tired at night, a never endin' messy kitchen, and dirty dishes." When asked to explain her strange prayer, she explains, "Noisy kids are happy kids, and slammin' doors just mean we live in a warm and lovin' home. Your long hours and those dishes in the sink means a job and enough to eat."

"You Make That Look Good"
Summary: Scotty's a simple country boy in love with a girl who, "you make that look good. Might as well say Cadillac right there on the hood. The way you flash that smile, no matter what you do, you make that look good." No matter what she's wearing (jeans, flipflops, and a tanktop) she still looks beautiful according to Scotty. "Boys will be boys, we like runnin' around, paintin' the town, don't know a thing about settlin' down. But right now, you make that look good." In fact, her beauty makes Scotty feel like he can do things he didn't think he could do before (nothing morally wrong, however).

"Back On The Ground"
Summary: Returning to his home, Scotty meets his mother who is happy to see him, greeting him with a hug and wanting to hear how he's doing. "Aint it funny how it all comes back around? I remember when I couldn't get out of her hair and ditch this town. I was restless and time to move on. Now it's any reason to go back home. That's what it's all about. Yeah, I'm just slowin' down, get my feet back on the ground." They spend the afternoon talking, happy to have all the time in the world, Scotty having no desire to leave.

"That Old King James"
Summary: Scotty has a hand-me-down King James translation of the bible which has been taken everywhere by his relatives. It was taken to war ("right there in the middle of hell"), cancer, crazy kids, and now sits in the house for Scotty's mother to take down when things got rough and she needed a little something to keep her going. The Bible has been cried over, marked up, and worn out. Scotty briefly wonders what toll he took on his mother and the well-loved bible. Finally, it falls into his hands with the directions "read it when you're feelin' down" and his response is a sincere "yes ma'm."

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