By Gayle Thompson theboot.com
Written by Chris Tompkins and Phillip White, “The Trouble With Girls” was recorded by Scotty McCreery for his debut album, Clear as Day. It was released as a single in August of 2011, just three months after McCreery was crowned the winner of Season 10 of American Idol, landed in the Top 20 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart (No. 17) and has been certified platinum. Below, Tompkins tells The Boot how he wrote the tune, and who gets the real credit for its rapid success.
My co-writer, Phillip White, and I have known each other for a long time; he’s from my hometown in Alabama. We ran into each other [in the] summer [of 2011] and got together to write. I usually always write at my studio at [publishing company] Big Loud Shirt, so I can use my Pro Tools, but Phillip proposed that we do it at Universal. I thought, “That’s a good idea. It will be old school — two writers with a guitar and a piano — with no toys to play with and interrupt the creative process.” It was a good change from my everyday norm.
The song actually started with Phillip having the title, “The Trouble With Girls,” and the first verse and the spin at the end of the chorus. I sat down at the grand piano and worked out the melody for the verse. At that point, we didn’t really have a chorus, and it felt like we needed to get somewhere big, musically, very quickly. Then, out of nowhere, I started singing the line, “They smile that smile,” and a second later, Phillip chimed in with,“Bat those eyes,” and after that, we knew we were onto something.
Phillip stayed on me to go over to my spot to do a work tape. I feel like I owe a lot to Phillip for making me get off my lazy butt to demo it quickly. Phillip’s a great guy and a great songwriter and friend: He knows how to reach in and pinch off a piece of your heart, and we’ve always been a good pairing.
The best thing about getting this cut — and the same thing happened before Carrie [Underwood] cut “Before He Cheats” — I knew that if I were lucky enough to get an American Idol cut, this was an album I’d love to be on. I always thought Scotty was a front-runner, and I’m proud to be a part of this.