Scotty McCreery’s second single, “The Trouble With Girls,” is a make-or-break moment for him. The ‘American Idol’ ride is almost over, and he’ll be just another country artist until he proves his worth with a string of hits. Haters are looking for a reason to label the 17-year-old a “flash in the pan,” but they won’t find one on “The Trouble With Girls.”
This isn’t to say that the second song from ‘Clear as Day,’ which will be released on October 4, is flawless. Heavy-handed production almost ruins a great performance of a great lyric written by Chris Tompkins and Philip White. The ballad’s first half is raw, vulnerable, and memorable. It actually sounds like a song Jake Owen would quickly pick up if given the opportunity.
To begin the song, McCreery sings over a delicate piano, “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,” Beyond his experience, he exudes confidence and maturity by never oversinging the moment. Too often, a new singer sounds desperate, but there isn’t a hint of desperation in anything McCreery has released so far.
“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 chorus begins. The second verse builds to a beautiful climax before the song’s producer acts like a kid left alone at the breakfast table with a big bowl of sugar.
“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 stripped-down showcase of the young singer’s voice becomes the most significant song he’ll ever write. A string orchestra is simply unnecessary for this song. They’re all sawing away when McCreery gets through the bridge, as if he’s onstage with the New York Philharmonic. This is the kid’s second single, not his masterpiece!
The energy brought to the song by the heavy instrumentation is never matched by McCreery, making one wonder if he was even in the room when those parts were added. There’s no doubt the country newcomer is putting his trust in his new management team to make sound decisions on his behalf, and Team Scotty has done an excellent job so far. On ‘The Trouble With Girls,’ the wolves were left in charge of the hen house.