Review : Rascal Flatts - Changed
Rough StockIn an an industry where an artist is lucky to have a good run of four to five years, vocal trio Rascal Flatts have managed to not only last that long but more than double that amount as they work on making their second decade as a trio as strong as their first. With that in mind the duo has also experienced quite a lot of change the past couple of years. First, their only record label home, Lyric Street Records, closed just as last album Nothing Like This was set to hit the market and the trio also hired new management. These kinds of changes could've shaken a band not as committed to their craft as Rascal Flatts but they persevered with a lot of success with their partnership with Big Machine Records and the Platinum sales of Nothing Like This....full text
The star pressOn their new album Changed, Rascal Flatts shows how they've matured since the trio's first hits 12 years ago. Once derided as country music's answer to pop boy bands, they've endured professionally by consistently scoring radio hits and selling out arenas. With Changed, Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney sound wiser and more grounded, balancing grown-up, light country-rockers with ballads grounded in real life.
The title song strips the band's sound down to an earthier core, displaying how rich their harmonies have become. Moreover, lead singer LeVox performs with more subtlety, focusing on expressing emotions rather than showing off ostentatious vocal pyrotechnics....full text
Taste of countryCritics of the group will find ammunition in a few songs that rely on repetition. Lines like “It’s hot, hot, hot in here,” or “She’s got a suitcase packed in the trunk, trunk, trunk / She got a see you later song going bump, bump, bump,” or “You keep lovin’ me, lovin’ me, lovin’ me, lovin’ me, lovin’ me baby” look boyband-ish on paper, but with the steady production help of Dan Huff they come off as only mildly hokum. Often that’s intentional. Let’s admit it, some of Rascal Flatts’ sillier songs (‘Bob That Head,’ ‘Me and My Gang’) are the highlights of their live shows.
You’ll find all three members of the group taking lead vocals on the closing track, ‘Let It Home’ (although the deluxe version is well worth the money for the pure country fun of ‘Friday’ and three others). It’s true that ‘Changed’ is the most country project they’ve released in 10 years, but longtime fans shouldn’t be afraid of what they’ll hear. The slick production and smooth harmonies are still as much of the group’s identity as hair gel....full text
GACThemes of transition rise to the surface throughout Changed. On “Let It Hurt,” a dramatic piano-based ballad, Gary implores those suffering to give their pain due time to process. Over the steady beat of “Sunrise,” Gary sings, We’re gonna change your life one sunrise at a time, when freeing a woman from a bad relationship. As evident here and in the empowering closing song “A Little Home,” dealing with the issues oftentimes leads to a better place. Just ask Rascal Flatts.
Rascal Flatts displays a renewed energy on the album, and nothing quite captures this like standout track “She’s Leaving.” A thick rhythm section, stomping guitars and intricate acoustic interplay drive the pounding song before a quick ringing chorus, Should’ve done this, should’ve done that / Should’ve seen it comin’ / Guess you don’t see nothin’ when you’re runnin’ round. The song is lean and mean, leaving nothing extraneous as they drive it home, and it pretty much has ‘hit’ written all over it with its undeniably catchy hooks....full text
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