Rascal Flatts’ is an album filled with sounds we’ve come to expect from this trio. Even though they had help from topnotch writers, like Chris Stapleton and Dan + Shay, this tenth studio release somehow lacks that ‘wow’ factor. It’s good, but not exactly great.
The first single “Yours If You Want It,” builds from wordy verses to a big chorus, as we’ve come to expect from Rascal Flatts. Although it should hit, dig in and stick, though, it doesn’t. At least not the way Rascal Flatts hits have put that hooky Kung Fu grip on us in the past.
With that said, though, lead singer Gary LeVox hasn’t lost his touch with the heart-tugging ballad. He knows how to skillfully use that wonderful voice of his. “Are You Happy Now,” a duet with Lauren Alaina, is the album’s standout track. Its message, about how heartbreakers eventually get their own hearts broken, finds LeVox and Alaina harmonizing powerfully. Don’t be surprised if we hear these two matching up again because they prove to be a perfect fit here.
Rascal Flatts sounds like it’s having the most fun with the silly throwback song, “Roller Rink,” one of the album’s bonus tracks. Over a funky, banjo-colored groove, LeVox re-lives drinking Cherry Coke underneath the old disco ball while the DJ plays “Funkytown.” “Vandalized,” which Stapleton helped write, may not be quite as lighthearted fun as “Roller Rink,” but – with its soulful horn section – it plays to Rascal Flatts’ group vocal artistic strengths. “I’m a mailbox/You’re a baseball bat,” LeVox complains at one point, bemoaning his short end of the proverbial relational stick.
Yes, there are some memorable high points on Back to Us. There just isn’t enough consistency to make this album one of Rascal Flatts’ better efforts.