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Review: Rascal falls flat on ‘Changed’

The Columbus-based country trio Rascal Flatts returns with its eighth studio album, “Changed.” This is the second album released on its record label, Big Machine Label Group, which also gave Taylor Swift her start.

The album’s first single, “Banjo,” hit radio airwaves earlier this year. The track has proven to be a song that some either love or are indifferent to, but no matter the opinion, you find yourself tapping your foot or singing along. Yes, it’s that catchy.

“She’s Leaving,” “Hot in Here” and “Changed,” were released in the weeks preceding the album’s release. Maybe this was to increase hype around the album, but I don’t think it helped.

As an owner of all of Rascal Flatts’ previous CDs, I can safely say this album sounds about the same as all of the others: country, but not enough so to keep it out of the pop charts every so often. I’m personally OK with that, and a lot of fans will be as well, but what this CD really lacks is a standout track.

There wasn’t a song I was willing to play on repeat 20 times because I loved it so much. This is rare for me, especially given that Rascal Flatts is my favorite country act. Some close contenders on the album that could fill that gap are “Hot In Here,” “Let It Hurt” and “Sunrise.”

If you decide to splurge for the deluxe edition, though I wouldn’t recommend it, you’ll have four additional tracks. “Friday Can’t Come Fast Enough” sounds almost like a rap during the verses.

Thankfully the group goes back to singing for the rest of the song. “Fall Here” has a sweet sentiment that could charm listeners after a few plays. “Right One Time” was one of the few tracks I liked the instant I heard it.

If Rascal Flatts truly has changed, it isn’t for the better. This album left a lot to be desired.

Grade: C+

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