Friday, June 17th, 2011

Scotty McCreery – I Love You This Big

It’s best if you try to not imagine his face as he sings.. or ever, really.


Jonathan Bogart: My “American Idol” recapper of choice described Scotty McCreery’s victory as being due to a “trick voice.” Just how trick I wouldn’t realize until I listened to the song: it’s the mellow, authoritative voice of a fourth-generation George Jones clone coming out of the grinning skull of a sixteen-year-old kid. He’s got all the details down pat, the little slides into sincerity and the warm chuckle that makes your thighs melt just a little if you take to that kind of thing; but he’s missing, as of course he is, any sense of a life lived. The song doesn’t help, it’s equal parts unmemorable and disgustingly soppy, but a great singer could save it. He just toddles around the words, chewing them like he’s not sure what they mean.

Alex Ostroff: Scotty has a smooth and deep voice that’s well-suited to country and he knows how to deploy it effectively in the name of all that is saccharine. What Scotty doesn’t know is how to write a song that doesn’t sound like a bad parody of every country ballad I’ve ever loved. It’s generic, and could be directed to absolutely anyone. There’s no sense of who he loves or how or WHY. The worst crime committed by this song, however, is that it conforms exactly to the prejudices of every person I know who has written off country without exploring it. This song is exactly as facile, as manipulative, as commercial and as corny as those destined to hate it expect. Country deserves better. We deserve better. Hell, American Idol deserves better. (Oh for the days of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, etc.) Love is “what words cannot describe, but I’ll try”? Try harder.

Pete Baran: Scotty’s ultra trad country delivery is almost completely salvaged by slipping in his own Emmylou Harris a-like backer on the chorus. Because beyond that this is nothing but country music radio filler, unremarkable outside of its somewhat odd title. Which is probably the secret of its success, because it’s not Country Radio filler, it’s actually CMT filler, where we can see how big “this big” really is. And its blandness suggests to me there must be something going on here for this to be big at all. (Scurries away to do research – scurries back.) Aha, American Idol winner, teen with the voice of a 45 year old country star, suddenly it all makes sense. Pity I don’t think he’s the Idol of even his own single.

B Michael Payne: It’s an object lesson in criticism: Even though country music is the music I’d be most proficient at making, it’s also the kind I feel least proficient at judging. I do know intimately, though, the “I love you thiiiiiis much” gesture with your arms wide and fingers stretching. And it’s precisely this relatability that makes music of any type good. The song’s instrumentation is innocuous, McCreery’s voice is generically nü-country, and the pedal steel drips lay like spun sugar across it all. Still, I like this song quite a bit.

Edward Okulicz: I’m not impressed when a voice bigger or older than the singer comes out of their mouth and doesn’t do anything that wouldn’t impress me coming from that older, bigger person. The story of this kid is basically just, you know, an American The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, and that’s what this is – a theatre of mimicry rather than compelling original product. The verses, pretty as they are, are mere scaffolding for the gaudy, cheesy design of the chorus, which is as awful as you fear based on the title. I don’t even think country would have been the most flattering arrangement for the tune, but I guess even Idol franchises must cut their coat to suit their cloth.

Michaela Drapes: As someone with a massive aversion to watching “American Idol,” I’m shocked to hear this rather remarkable voice coming out of that geek I saw in all the photos online. Yeah, he’s listened to way too much Randy Travis — but man, for all the despicable sentiment of the lyric, this is one hell of a song.

Anthony Easton: Can someone explain why the only real break out stars of Idol are country singers, and the country singers on Idol tend to be super stars, and the idol stories are often stories of working class poverty and family disorder — which country tells well — but they didn’t hire anyone at all from Nashville to be a new judge? (Which is why Blake Shelton on the Voice is so interesting, though Cee Lo coaching legit country singers might be the real story out of this year). McCreery has a beautiful voice that is mature for his teenage years, a sound that is capable of seduction, but this track is sexless, generic, bland, clichéd, over-produced, slick. If he is smart, he will be able to work out what Idol means, and how he can struggle out of it.

Katherine St Asaph: “I Love You This Big” is a love song, but it might as well be about fame or self-esteem or Anthony Weiner’s resignation. It’s less important for what it is than for its status as a referendum on McCreery’s future: will he be a Carrie or a Taylor (Hicks, not Swift)? Pro: The Idol demographic and the country demographic (not to mention the rural-ish North Carolina demographic) are edging closer every season. Con: That didn’t work so well for Bucky Covington or Josh Gracin or Kellie Pickler. Pro: He’s a fun novelty on the show. Con: So was Taylor Hicks; the show only lasts so long. Pro: “I Love You This Big” is a solidly built song, albeit in a bland way. Con: It’s bland with a title straight out of the “This Is My Now” factory. Pro: Scotty’s got an awesome facsimile of an inky, aged country voice. Con: He’s got an inky, aged country voice that’s an awesome facsimile.

Zach Lyon: Well, a fitting track for Li’l Scotty McCreery (that’s a “Li’l Sebastian” Li’l, not a “Lil Wayne” Lil) who we all know happens to be an eight year-old disease-ridden orphan with the voice of a golden lion god. In “I Love You This Big,” he successfully shows off the vocal chops discovered and hopefully exploited by the greedy fat cat record exec who happened to be sulking down just the right brick road, as he heard Li’l Scotty’s voice from a nearby alleyway, singing a song of lament to his loyal squirrel friend, Stanley. “Could this be?” the fat cat wonders aloud, his hand to his ear. “Could this voice so pure be my ticket to endless riches… and Cecilia’s love?” In Act II, we find Li’l Scotty, fresh in a new pair of knickers, singing a song based on the words his parents told him — “We love you this big!” — following a successful game of Peek-A-Boo, only months before they would both be shot by hunters. Indeed, things sure are looking up, fat cat record exec. “Well, joll-y!” he shouts, for that is his catchphrase.

Jonathan Bradley: Not anywhere near as bad as the twee title would suggest (the Lucksmiths barely got away with it), and he’s got a hefty voice for a ’90s baby. “I know I’m still young,” he sings, “but I know how I feel.” I’m not sure that he does though; after that strong opening, the performance slides into country balladry distinguished by proficiency rather than emotion. Romance shouldn’t be this bland.

10 Responses to “Scotty McCreery – I Love You This Big”

  1. Damn it, I forgot to add a pro/con set.

    Pro: People think he’s cute.
    Con: That (and “Heartless”) was entirely behind Kris Allen’s victory, and you know the rest of that story.

  2. Scotty : Li’l Sebastian : : me : Ben Wyatt

  3. I think that analogy might apply to most of the non-Idol-voting populace, actually.

  4. Well, i will remember never to visit this site again.

  5. Good to know.

  6. Didn’t watch AmIdol this year, but from the photo I’d say this guy has some hardcore Smeagol vibes.

  7. smeagol?

  8. Dude’s a total pre-Gollum!



  10. “We Loves You Thisssssss Big”