Turn the clock back to May 2011: American Idol Season 10 was coming to a close, and it was down to the wire. The final contestants gave it all they had, hoping they could steal the spotlight for the very last time. When the votes were counted and dust settled, fresh-faced 17-year-old Scotty McCreery emerged as the victor, making him the second youngest contestant to ever win the popular reality singing competition.
Fast-forward to 2018: Three albums later and seven years older, Scotty is back with his fourth effort, Seasons Change. Staying true to his deep-voiced twang and country roots, this 11-track release showcases the experiences that McCreery has gone through—such as moving out on his own, losing his grandfather and getting engaged—since his last outing. Which makes this album a deeply personal journey for all who venture to listen.
Alone on the road in “Home in My Mind,” McCreery focuses his thoughts on the woman he loves back home: “Cruising by them Carolina pines/Taking it slow, doing 35 down Timber Drive/I can already feel your hand in mine.” And in “Wherever You Are,” he’ll do whatever it takes to be with his beloved: “Wherever you are, wherever it is/Baby it ain’t too far/Just give me a call or drop me a pin.”
“Five More Minutes” fondly reminisces about the best of times from McCreery’s youth: “Time rolls by, the clock don’t stop/I wish I had a few more drops/Of the good stuff, the good times,” he drawls. “In Between” presents the singer as a man who is a little bit of everything: “I’m a little bit a ball cap/Little bit a pearl snap button down shirt.” He says he’s not interested in casual sex (“I’m a far cry from being/A one night stand”), but he confesses that committing to marriage still intimidates him (“But I ain’t ready/For a ring on my hand”).
But in “This Is It,” McCreery nevertheless prepares to propose at a special spot: “Way up in the mountains, four thousand feet high…/Looking out, can’t you see forever? Take my hand, just take it in.” He also imagines what their wedding ceremony will be like: “Now you’re walking down the aisle/And I can’t help but smile.” “Still” likewise focuses on his longtime girlfriend, now fiancée, Gabi Dugal: “Every day changes but it doesn’t change/The way you make me smile when you say my name … /And I don’t care how many times that story is told/Cover to cover it never gets old.”
“Seasons Change” teaches us that no matter what life may bring, there is still hope in the end: “When you just can’t find the right piece to the puzzle/There’s no light at the end of the tunnel/Don’t sweat it, don’t thread it, put your boots on the ground/ … ‘Cause sometimes going through all the bad weather/Makes the sun shine that much better.”
In “Five More Minutes,” Scotty recalls staying out too late with a girl when he was younger because “we needed just a little more” even when the “yellow light flipping on and off” was “interrupting that goodnight kissing.” In “Wrong Again,” a couple shares intimate moments, dancing, drinking and kissing: “Just a little slow dancing/Just a little romancing/On a Friday night/We shared some drinks/…This kiss been going on all night.”
And that combination of drinking and hints at physical intimacy is one that turns up on a couple of other tracks as well, including “Barefootin'” and “Move It on Out.” On the latter, we also get a bit of sexual innuendo when McCreery sings, “You got me dying to see what’s hiding underneath/That d–ned old cover up.”
“Boys From Back Home” fondly recalls the times McCreery and his underage friends would buy beer with fake IDs. And when he heads home again, he plans to “call ‘em up to see if we can find/A stop sign to shoot/A train track to jump.” “In Between” details McCreery’s middle-of-the-road alcohol preferences: “I’m in between/Friday night wild/ … Done after one/And keep pouring/ … I ain’t all holy water/And I ain’t all Jim Beam.”
“Still” misuses God’s name as McCreery sings of his beloved, “Oh my god/You are my whole world.” “Wherever You Are” repeats this lyric three times: “Enough of this d–n being apart.”
In an interview with Billboard, Scotty McCreery talked about his inspiration for Seasons Change, including reflections on where he’s come from and what he’s learned:
“It’s kind of my journal of the last few years: the ups and the downs. …Whenever I think things are not going well, I’ve learned to just wait it out because the seasons change. If you want to know who I am and where I’m at right now, listen to this album. I feel like I’m having a conversation with everyone that listens. It’s that personal.”
And it is personal. Lyrics focus frequently on positive themes such as love and commitment, family and friends and remembering the best of times. We also hear sweet moments about small-town livin’, engagement and learning that life is beautiful no matter what may pass. But, of course, there’s also drinking on Friday nights, cozying up passionately to a special someone and a handful of mild profanities.
Scotty McCreery is hardly going to give hard-livin’ bro country partiers a run for their money. That said, Seasons Change does reflect a change, with McCreery’s lyrical emphasis more on traditional country topics and less on the Christian faith that marked his early efforts. His songs still offer a relatively positive alternative to many others in his chosen genre, but perhaps slightly less so than on some of his earlier efforts.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, loving raising their little guy, Judah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).