Scotty McCreery’s second single, ‘The Trouble With Girls,’ is his make-it-or-break-it moment. The ‘American Idol’ ride is just about over, making him just another country artist until he proves his mettle with a few hits in a row. The haters are looking for a reason to call the 17-year-old a flash in the pan, but unfortunately for them, they won’t find one on ‘The Trouble With Girls.’
This isn’t to say the second song from ‘Clear as Day’ — in stores on October 4 — is perfect. Heavy-handed production almost sabotages a fine performance of a great lyric written by Chris Tompkins and Philip White. The first half of the nearly four-minute ballad is raw, vulnerable and memorable. It actually sounds like a song Jake Owen would snatch up quickly if given the chance.
“The trouble with girls is they’re a mystery / Something about them puzzles me / Spent my whole life trying to figure out / Just what them girls are all about,” McCreery sings over a delicate piano to begin the song. There’s confidence and maturity beyond his experience as he never over sings the moment. Too often a new singer sounds like he or she is begging, but there isn’t an ounce of desperation in anything McCreery has released thus far.
The chorus goes, “They smile that smile / They bat those eyes / They steal you with hello / They kill you with goodbye / They hook you with one touch / And you can’t break free / Yeah the trouble with girls / Is nobody loves trouble as much as me.” The second verse continues to build toward a beautiful climax before the song’s producer begins behaving like a kid left alone with a big bowl of sugar at the breakfast table.
“They’re sugar and spice and angel wings / Hell on wheels in tight blue jeans / A summer night down by the lake / An old memory that you can’t shake.” Suddenly this bare-bones showcase of the young singer’s voice turns into the biggest song he’ll ever make. There is simply no need for a string orchestra on this song. By the time McCreery gets through the bridge, they’re all sawing away like he’s onstage with the New York Philharmonic. This is the kid’s second single, not his final opus!
McCreery never matches the energy brought to the song by the heavy instrumentation, leading one to wonder if he was even in the room when those parts were added. There’s little doubt the country newbie is trusting his new management team to make good decisions on his behalf, and for the most part, Team Scotty has done a marvelous job. On ‘The Trouble With Girls,’ someone left the wolves in charge of the hen house.