Has time already run out on Scotty McCreery? Because if radio could give him “Five More Minutes,” he might still be able to turn his career around.
McCreery burst onto the scene in 2011 by becoming the Season 10 winner of American Idol, but has struggled to gain any traction in the country genre ever since, with only a pair of Top Ten singles to show for his efforts.
His record label finally gave up on him in 2016, forcing him to self-release his latest single “Five More Minutes.” It’s a good thing he got it out to the public, however, because while it can come across as a bit generic, the song is an excellent showcase of McCreery’s talents and reminds people why he was an Idol winner in the first place.
The production here is a blend of modern and traditional sounds, with a synthetic foundation (drum machine, various atmospheric noises) that features more and more real instruments as the song progresses (real drums, electric guitars, some keyboard, and a surprisingly amount of steel guitar).
The sound itself is fairly restrained and reflective, relegating most of the instruments to background duty (save for the guitars trading a bridge solo between themselves) and only swelling up a bit during the choruses. The mix does a nice job setting a somber, reflective mood that suits the subject matter, and while I wish it did a bit more to stand out from its competition, it’s a pleasant, inoffensive sound that is easy on the ears.
The writing, unfortunately, couldn’t have been more generic if it had tried. The lyrics revolve around important moments in life in which the narrator had wished he had “five more minutes” to experience them and prolong the feeling…except the moments the song chooses to highlight are exactly what you’d expect them to be: fishing in the creek, on the porch with a girl, in the middle of a high school football field, and in the room of a dying relative. Seriously, didn’t Luke Bryan just sing this exact same song? There’s nothing particularly clever, witty, and memorable here, and leaves the listener disappointed and wondering “Is this really it?”
The bland writing here means that the song is completely dependent on the vocal performance for its emotional weight, and a mediocre artist will just end up putting people to sleep with their performance. Thankfully, McCreery has the chops and the charisma to pull off a song like this, and he absolutely knocks this song out of the park with his performance.
His range and flow aren’t tested here, but the emotion and earnestness he displays here are enough to hit home for even the most jaded of listeners. (Seriously, McCreery does a better Chris Young impression on this song than Young himself did on “Losing Sleep.”) McCreery’s a bit too young for the song to have the meta feel that Luke Bryan’s “Fast” does, but if this song represents McCreery’s last chance to resuscitate his career, at least he’s going down swinging.
Overall, “Five More Minutes” is an okay song that Scotty McCreery elevates to a good one almost solely on the strength of his performance. Hopefully the power players in Nashville are paying attention, because young talents aren’t often available like this one, and McCreery could still fulfill his Idol potential with some major-label muscle and more-memorable material backing him.