By Melissa Maerz
October 13, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT



Scotty McCreery may be the oldest 18-year-old alive. On Clear as Day, American Idol‘s latest champ sounds like he’s 52, and not just because of the Randy Travis baritone coming from his Opie Taylor mouth. It’s that he’s anticipating being ”old and gray” and reliving high school memories that are still ”clear as day” (um, that’s because he hasn’t graduated yet). His world’s so archaic, girls don’t even send him texts: He has to say ”Write My Number on Your Hand.” At least his Idol rival Lauren Alaina acts her age. On Wildflower, she captures the restless spirit of small-town girls who get grounded for French-kissing the boy next door; you can hear her rebel fire in the barn-burning fiddles on ”Georgia Peaches.” Just try to ignore the fact that on ”The Locket,” a sonic version of the Ryan Gosling weepie The Notebook, she recalls a romance that began ”back in ’41.” Kids — they grow up so fast! Clear as Day: C+, Wildflower: B


  • Music
Complete Coverage
  • Wildflower