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    All Music Guide Review

    Much of Scotty McCreery's appeal on American Idol relied on his old-fashioned charm, how he seemed like a nice, everyday guy who just happened to be a deep-voiced crooner of classic country. Of course, in the early days of the 21st century, old-fashioned country doesn't sell the way it used to. McCreery's 2011 debut Clear as Day performed well right out of the gate -- it debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 and the country charts, and his post-coronation single "I Love You This Big" wound up charting higher on the Hot 100 than it did on the country charts, all on its way to a platinum certification -- but if his 2013 sequel See You Tonight is any indication, there clearly was some worry in Scotty's camp that he couldn't perform the same trick twice. Producer Mark Bright -- a hitmaker who leans toward the middle of the road, as indicated by his productions for Rascal Flatts and Sara Evans -- has been swapped for Frank Rogers, who racked up hits with Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, and Josh Turner. Rogers' résumé relies on a modern collection of country stars but suggests a lingering traditionalism that can't be found anywhere on See You Tonight. This modern country is so glossy and effervescent it appears that McCreery's voice has jumped a couple of octaves; he's shaken off the studied affectations of his debut and seems fresh-faced and boyish as he sings songs that have almost nothing to do with a dusty honky tonk. See You Tonight is unapologetically following the Luke Bryan/Jake Owen blueprint so closely that some of its song titles recall older hits by those country hunks -- Scotty sings of a "Blue Jean Baby" and Jake of a "Barefoot Blue Jean Night"; Bryan had a "Buzzkill" while McCreery is "Buzzin'" -- and if he somehow forgot to sing a song about a truck, he's at least leaning against a rusted old beater on the album cover. Scotty's redefinition of himself as a sports bar-hopping bro is plainly shameless but, strangely enough, See You Tonight works, partially due to the Rogers-shepherded collection of cheerful country-pop but also due to the malleability of McCreery's dude-next-door persona. That his surroundings are lighter and brighter than before only accentuates how McCreery's happy to be here, so he's happy to sing songs that will keep him here. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi



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