Song Review: Scotty McCreery, “This Is It”

It’s an appropriate title, but I wish this song was more “This is it!” and less “this is it?”

With the 24-second clock about to expire on his career, Scotty McCreery threw up a desperation three hoping to get just “Five More Minutes.” The shot hit nothing but net, and McCreery earned himself a No. 1 hit, a new album (Seasons Change), and a new record deal with Triple Tigers Records. Now, he’s returning to the radio with “This Is It,” and while it’s a decent track as it is, it’s also a very safe play, and it feels like McCreery’s team missed an opportunity to capitalize on his momentum and take this song to the next level.

In terms of the production, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about, regardless of what you’re referring to. After the opening (out of place) siren synth, the mix boils down to a pair of guitars (a bright electric carrying the melody and an acoustic filling it the gaps behind it) and a restrained drum set. Energy and momentum seem to be in short supply as well, and while the mix does a nice job establishing a relaxed, positive atmosphere that supports the writing well enough, there isn’t enough power or emotion here to drive the point home. When the lyrics raise the stakes and transition from a mountain view to wedding bells, the production doesn’t rise up to meet the challenge, and makes what could have been a poignant moment feel “meh” instead. It’s a good effort that carries some emotional weight and keeps the focus on the writing and the characters, but I can’t help but feel like a great effort would have really pushed this song over the top.

Similarly, McCreery’s biggest sin here is that he just makes it look so darn easy. He’s got great tone, great range, and a ton of charm, but his delivery is so smooth and consistent that as the story progresses and moves towards the climax, he doesn’t bring enough power and emotion to the table to keep up. As a result, he sounds like he’s on auto-pilot through the second half of the track, and the song doesn’t feel as sincere as it should. I’ve heard enough from McCreery to know he has the skill and ability to deliver what’s missing from this performance, but just like Chris Young did on “Losin’ Sleep,” McCreery obediently sticks to the same substandard tone as the production, turning what could have been a moving performance into one that’s just okay.

The lyrics start by sort of setting the scene for a mountaintop wedding proposal, and talk about how the moment the narrator and their partner have both been waiting for is now upon them. (I say “sort of setting” because the lyrics make the bizarre decision to explicitly not describe the view, which is fine for someone who’s standing there and can just open their eyes, but not so much for someone who’s listening to the song on the freeway and really needs the narrator to provide more details.) It’s not a terribly novel tale, but it’s got a fair amount of charm and cuteness to it, even when the song makes the sudden, jarring transition to the couple’s wedding day at the end. Of the song’s three major components, the writing is the only one that tries to ramp up the energy and emotion by providing some context for the scene and talk about the buildup that’s been happening by the scenes. By relying on emotion rather than novelty or cleverness, however, the lyrics needs to have the other players step up to the plate and set the proper mood so that the lyrics can push through and really move its audience to feel something. Here, however, the production and vocals only make a halfhearted effort to keep up, and the listener is only kinda-sorta moved as a result.

“This Is It” gives off a strong odor of wasted potential to me. It’s a decent song as it is, and people will probably enjoy it, but it would have been much more moving and impactful (and could have been a no-brainer wedding-playlist song) if the production and vocals had done more to keep up with the lyrics. It’s a slight regression from “Five More Minutes,” and Scotty McCreery has learned the hard way that you’re only as good as your last single. If this is really it, I’ll guess I’ll take it, but man, this could’ve been so much more.

Rating: 6/10. Even in its current state, it’s worth a spin or two.