May 19, 2017 Rascal Flatts – Back To Us (Album Review)
Do you seek hope, love, nostalgia, and a reason to dance in the summer sunshine? All things appetizingly harmonic and melodic, Rascal Flatts’ are back with the upbeat Back To Us, which arrives May 19, 2017, via Big Machine Records.
Rascal Flatts – Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus, and Joe Don Rooney – are a Country music institution that require little introduction. Formed in 1999, the trio have 9 studio albums (from 2000’s Rascal Flatts to 2014’s Rewind) as well as one Christmas collection (2016’s The Greatest Gift of All) to their name, along with an impressive (lucky) thirteen No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart. Over the past eighteen years, the threesome has accrued a lengthy list of accolades, from ACM Top New Vocal Duo or Group in 2001, to CMA Vocal Group of the Year in 2005, to the ACA Decade Artist Award in 2010. They have stars on the Music City Walk of Fame and Hollywood Walk of Fame, a couple Grammys, and have been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. What more is there for Rascal Flatts?
Now tenth studio album, Back To Us, is geared to make this a summer to remember. Produced by Rascal Flatts and busbee (Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town), the ten-song collection is also available in a Deluxe Edition that includes three bonus tracks, extending the party just a little bit longer.
Back To Us begins with “Yours If You Want It,” bubbly, infectious Pop sounds that are firmly anchored in today’s Country. In fact, much of the album is the same: delicious, catchy Pop tracks that revolve around relationships and summer fun. It becomes abundantly clear that Rascal Flatts are one of those rarities – a group who can actually sing – on tracks like album title “Back To Us” – about recoupling – and the poignant piano ballad, the broken promise of “I Know You Won’t.”
Hoping that the hottie over there was scoping you out is the central thesis of summer fun anthem “Hopin’ You Were Lookin’,” while Rascal Flatts acknowledge that a girl’s just gotta dance on the flirty “Dance.” Of course, life is not all good times and Singer-Songwriter Lauren Alaina steps in to teach the boys a quiet lesson with the exquisite duet “Are You Happy Now,” about looking back at a past love and wondering about the current state of affairs in their life. Stunning, soaring vocals and emotionally-moving lyrics mark this as a stellar stand-out.
“Just don’t leave me without leaving a trace,” plead Rascal Flatts on “Love What You’ve Done With the Place,” a song about wanting to be left with more than just memories of a lover. It flows perfectly into the super upbeat, full sound on “Kiss You While I Can,” a fast-paced ode to appreciating what you have while you have it – in the summer sun and with a goofy smile plastered across your face. The album rounds out with “Vandalized” – adding a little bit of funk to the mix – and “One Night To Shine” with beautiful, soaring harmonies that will make this the perfect Prom 2017 theme song.
Deluxe Editions of the album contain three bonus tracks: “Hands Talk,” a sexy little tribute to quieting your mouth and letting your hands do the walking with a lover; the nostalgia fest of “Roller Rink,” which is admittedly a little cheesy, sure, but delicious Velveeta never failed to put a smile on any face; and “Thieves,” the proverbial ode to summers on the beach.
Back To Us presents delicious harmonies, catchy melodies, and beautifully fun, upbeat Pop music that is firmly anchored in all things modern Country. A perfectly fun collection, the album breaks no new boundaries but it sure is infectious. For being a fun dance through the sunshine of life and love, CrypticRock give Rascal Flatts’ Back To Us 4 of 5 stars.