Kendra Deutsche

Rascal Flatts’ newest album, released April 4, continues to top the national Billboard Top 200 chart for the third week in a row. They also debuted in the No. 1 position on the Top Country Albums chart.

Their fourth album, “Me and My Gang,” is perhaps their best yet with their strong lyrics and vocal harmonies. This was the biggest release the group has had, according to Billboard’s Web site.

Fans of Rascal Flatts will be happy to hear the strong harmonies the group is known for, but this album also incorporates new and fun additions that listeners will not be able to pass up.

After having sold 722,000 albums during the week following the release, it is obvious that the heartfelt songs of the group, comprised of country artists Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney, continue to appeal to a more diverse audience than just country fans, though, of course, country is where their roots lie.

The first single, “What Hurts the Most,” is likely the main source of the success of the album. Just hearing this song makes listeners curious about the remainder of the album. The intriguing harmonies, though repetitious at first, somehow aid the band in explaining the pain felt after losing a relationship.

This theme makes it into several of the tracks of the album, making break-ups a central aspect of the disc. In some cases, multiple songs about bad relationships can be enough to deter listeners, but this album still draws people in through the honest lyrics.

Perhaps the catchiest track of the album is “Backwards,” which talks about what happens when a country song is played backward from the perspective of a disgruntled bar-goer. “You get your house back/You get your dog back/You get your best friend Jack back/-That’s what you get when you play a country song backwards.” This song switches quickly from a very calm introduction to a fast-paced chorus that grabs attention and immediately invokes laughter as it adds definite humor for the non-country audience.

In “Yes I Do,” the group incorporates a reggae style into their country song, bringing a refreshing change to the country circuit. Listeners will be surprised to hear these new rhythms, which create a more fun experience than just a straight country style.

The album’s title track relies on a very lively and upbeat rhythm that listeners will also be pleased to hear. Following the distorted vocals at the beginning, the group brings a carefree attitude to the album with the smooth harmonies of this song.

“Ellsworth” is the typical heart-warming song the group often includes in their albums, similar to their single “Skin” about a young girl with cancer. “Ellsworth” talks of a grandmother who, though her mind is failing her, still recalls every detail of her husband. “It’s like her mind just quit/Oh, but bring up Grandpa/It’s like someone flipped a switch.” Listeners can easily relate to this fulfilling track as most people have experienced a similar situation.

The final song of the album, “He Ain’t the Leaving Kind,” brings a religious theme to the album, though unapparent at first. “They tried their best to drag him out of a courthouse down in Montgomery/Now they want to take him out of school/And take him off our money.” These lyrics are surprising because the implications are not seen initially. Without throwing their beliefs on the listener, they effectively and tastefully get their opinions across.

While the last three albums Rascal Flatts released were enjoyable, this album is easily their most successful. Their past strengths are made even stronger with this chart-topping album, and fans of the group will be more than pleased with their latest release.

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