“Changed” is the 8th studio album from the Country trio Rascal Flatts and has already had single’s success with the tracks “Banjo” and “Come Wake me up”. Like their previous albums, “Changed” covers themes of Love, relationships, religion and life, providing a mix between ballads and more up tempo tracks. Although the general sound and feel of the album is classic Rascal Flatts, it does take a slightly different turn with a couple of stand out tracks, and after all they’ve found a sound that works, and this album is further proof of that.
“Changed” opens with it’s title track which is a very personal ballad based around the Christian act of water baptism and the experiences which follow after emerging from the water as “Changed”. This track may not be in line with every listeners views, but no one can deny that the writing and composition of this track easily equal the high standards that Rascal Flatts are famous for. It has a great balance of relatability and empathy in the lyrics that can stop you in your tracks. The personal experiences expressed in the lyrics are an insight into the lives of Gary [LeVox], Jay [DeMarcus] and Joe [Don Rooney] and, I feel, humbles these Country superstars in a way that many listeners will be able to connect with.
From there we lead into the first of the albums Single tracks with “Banjo”, an upbeat, feel good track singing the praises of the classic Country instrument itself. With it’s catchy chorus and a bit more of a classic country feel it’s surely a song that will get stuck in your head for hours afterwards, which is a trait shared with track 3 “Hot in Here”. Not to be confused with a 2002 hip hop track of the same name, this tale of summer love will stand out any time you listen to the album. It has a slightly different sound to many of their tracks, which helps it to stand out when compared to the rest.
“Come wake me up”, the second of the albums Singles, is on par with “I wont let go” [Nothing Like This album] in it’s emotion and structure, though slightly higher tempo. Telling the story of a couple breaking up and the attempts of coping with the pain and memories it does a great job of conveying the situation to the listener.
The second of the breakup tracks is “She’s leaving”, and no prizes for guessing the topic of this one. This one has a slightly different sound to it which does a nice job of making a normally downbeat situation and turning it into a catchy, upbeat track, though I feel it might not connect with some fans of the bands regular style. This is rectified with the following ballad “Let it Hurt”.
If at this point “Banjo” and “Hot in Here” aren’t stuck in your head, “Lovin’ Me” should fix that. It’s catchy chorus should have you repeating “lovin’ me, lovin’ me, lovin’ me, lovin’ me, lovin’ me, baby” for hours to come, which isn’t a bad thing as it’s lyircs almost lure you into singing along, whether you want to or not.
“Hurry baby” shares a similar sound with “Let it hurt”, but slightly higher tempo, which helps with the feeling of longing that the lyrics describe by adding a sense of urgency to the vocals, while maintaining the ballad-like base.
Listeners of the Jay DeMarcus radio show will recognise the looping guitar intro to “Sunrise” instantly. From my listens through of this album, I have found that this track is the one that I routinely manage to forget. Where as the rest of the tracks have their individual features which help me to remember them, for some reason this track lacks that hook for me. This isn’t to say that it’s a bad song by any means, it’s actually far from it, there’s just something about it that I feel is missing to make it a classic, memorable track.
“Great big love” makes the penultimate track on the album and at I feel is in a similar category as “She’s leaving” for it’s slightly different approach and sound. it’s also the 2nd shortest track on the album behind the afore mentioned “She’s leaving”, before leading into the much slower “A little home” telling the story of homesickness, which will no doubt strike a chord with many a listener with it’s clear and grounded lyrics.
On the whole, “Changed” provides a very good balance of upbeat and slower tracks which will fall nicely into the collection of any Rascal Flatts fan and continues to concrete their already established position in the country music world
Album Review written by Mark Stanton
Bio: I’m a freelance Graphic Designer from the North-west. I’ve always liked many kinds of music and in recent years has really become interested in Country music. I dream to live and work in America, and after a visit to Nashville in 2010, that’s where I can see myself living some day.