I have said it before and I will say it again: I am not a fan of country music. Although there are some select songs and artists here and there that I catch myself humming along to, it has never been my musical cup of tea. I appreciate the genre wholeheartedly, for there is an immense amount of talent to be found within it, but I can’t seem to throw my cowgirl hat into the ring of Florida Georgia Line and Sugarland fans. That being said, I reviewed Blake Shelton’s latest album a few months back and found myself downloading a handful of songs off the album onto my phone during the process. Scotty McCreery, on the other hand, has put me in a whole different ballpark.
My mom is an avid American Idol fan, so I had watched Scotty McCreery audition live on TV all those years ago. Seriously, can you believe that it has been seven years since Steven Tyler told McCreery to, so eloquently, mess around with a duck and see what happens? Although, the better question is: how did Steven Tyler end up as a judge on American Idol for not one, but two seasons? Regardless, it was during McCreery’s audition at age 16 that he blew away the judges and got hilarious validation of his vocal abilities from Mr. Tyler himself.
Seven years later, Scotty McCreery is 24 years old. He is wiser, stronger, and thrilled to be releasing his third studio album. Maybe it’s because his baby face is now hidden underneath his stubble, or maybe it’s just been a long time since he released music, but this new album of his is so much more mature than I could have ever expected. I can genuinely hear many of these songs being on the radio, and becoming one of the many Top 40 songs of the summer. I’m not saying that this album is what pushed me over the country music ledge, but it might have brought me pretty close. It’s pop, it’s soulful, and it’s contemporary. Most importantly, it is truly singer-songwriter material.
The album opens with the title track “Seasons Change,” an upbeat and uplifting song about moving on and looking on the bright side of things. Lyrically, as well as instrumentally, it proves how he has a grown over the years, the experience he has gathered as a musician, and that this time around, his musical approach is exactly how he wants it to be. McCreery co-wrote every single song off the 11-track album, once again putting him on the map as a modern country artist and not just an American Idol winner.
The first single off of Seasons Change is a gut wrenchingly beautiful song entitled “Five More Minutes,” of which I warn you: the music video will probably make you cry even harder than if you simply listened to the audio. It’s about wishing and wanting just five more minutes with a loved one; five more minutes with someone you couldn’t bear to live without. His swoon-worthy, deep voice croons lyrics that truly hit home. “Five More Minutes” is a stunning, emotional song with a video that is a mix of home videos, a slideshow of pictures of McCreery’s family, and McCreery himself. Not to mention that it begins by him dedicating the video to his grandfathers. (I could tear up just thinking about the video and hearing the flawless song in my head.)
But the standout song, in my opinion, comes half way into the album. It is another emotional song, but one filled with the most positive, enthusiastic form of love and passion that there is. For a little background on the song, McCreery wrote it two weeks before proposing to his now fiancé. Notice that I said “now finacé,” as in, his longtime girlfriend said yes! Thus, the song he wrote for her about the engagement made the final cut of the record, and hearts across the globe burst everywhere. “This Is It” stunned me. With the slow build up to the perfectly country chorus, the intertwined guitar riffs and piano notes, and the utterly adorable lyrics, you can’t help but wish you were just as in love as he is.
Scotty McCreery’s Seasons Change is pretty good, I have to admit. It’s filled with honest songwriting, amazing vocals, and talented musicians. You can’t go wrong with any of that; especially in this generation where manufactured music is all around us. Moreover, it’s been five years since his last album was released, so it is more than evident that he has truly expanded who he is as an artist over that time, while still sticking to the roots that got him to where he is now. I may not be a country music fan just yet, but I am definitely a McCreery fan after listening to this record.