Big-hitter trio Rascal Flatts have returned to the foreground of country music with their new album titled ‘Back To Us’ (released May 19). This is their tenth studio album, following 2014’s ‘Rewind’. The record was largely penned by the band and solely produced by them, bar one track, which busbee produced.
The album’s first single ‘Yours If You Want It’ was released back in January and was everything fans expected from the band. There’s an energy emitted from this song that can’t be found in other genres of music. It made a statement on its own, preceding the album’s release.
‘Back To Us’ serves as a culmination of tracks that remind listeners of the reason why the Grammy-winners first became successful. Title track ‘Back To Us’ is perhaps a message to fans that they aimed to produce this album in a similar fashion to that of their very first ones in the early 2000s. Apart from lead singer Gary LeVox’s unforgettable tone, it’s the perfect harmonies that round out their sound and give the songs layers and texture without taking away from the melodies. Rascal Flatts’ harmonies played a huge part of the band’s initial success and are the heroes of this record.
The 13-track record features collaboration with fellow country artist Lauren Alaina on ballad, ‘Are You Happy Now’. Alaina’s vocals are a perfect match to LeVox’s, both powerful and poignant. Rascal Flatts have produced numerous emotional power ballads on previous albums, and ‘Are You Happy Now’ is definitely one for the books. Its lyrics are gripping and its melody moving. The other ballad on the record, ‘I Know You Won’t’ features LeVox solo, showcasing his vocal ability and is seriously jaw-dropping.
It’s clear that Rascal Flatts does ballads exceptionally. However, they channel a very different energy for their upbeat numbers, like ‘Dance’ and ‘Thieves’. They carry an eagerness to make your body move and are lively as ever. Plus, they tell endearingly simple stories that can be quite anthemic. They’re songs to listen and sing to loudly and it won’t even matter if you’re off-key.
Above all, Rascal Flatts continues to demonstrate so wonderfully the transparency of emotions portrayed in country music. It’s one of the reasons I was drawn to the genre; the messages of the songs aren’t hidden between the lines or inside metaphors to be deciphered. There’s a simplicity to the way stories are told and they’re easy to understand. From never wanting a good night to end in ‘Our Night To Shine’ to discovering the mistakes you made in a relationship in ‘Are You Happy Now’, these stories are so human, it’s difficult to not sympathize with any of them.
Rascal Flatts represent country music in the best way with ‘Back To Us’. It encapsulates everything fans have already come to love about them. It’s the perfect example of why they’ve risen and stood out in the country music scene.
Image courtesy of Rascal Flatts‘ Facebook Page