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Rewind by Rascal Flatts This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

It has been two years since Rascal Flatts released their last album, “Changed.” While I have been a big fan since the start of their career, and I enjoyed “Changed,” it underperformed more than any of their previous efforts. Fortunately for long-time fans like me, their newest album, “Rewind,” is excellent.

“Rewind” includes 13 tracks on the standard edition and 17 on the Target Exclusive Deluxe edition. I often worry that with many songs on a record, it is going to be a battle of quantity over quality, but not on “Rewind.” Rascal Flatts moves forward, modernizing their sound to find the contemporary style of country radio today. While several tracks lean toward a pop sound, lead singer Gary LeVox says that they have always been “country with a flare of pop.” In short, this album makes perfect sense.

On a majority of tracks, the band chose to work with rock producer Howard Benson. (Dann Huff had produced the band since 2004.) Rascal Flatts' own Jay DeMarcus also had a hand in producing a large portion of the album. While Huff did produce a few songs, he was not heavily involved this time around. To those who think it doesn't matter who produces an album, “Rewind” proves that sometimes change is a good thing.

While the harmonization in the title track is reminiscent of “Prayin' for Daylight” from their debut album 14 years ago, and “I Have Never Been to Memphis” will remind you of “Bless the Broken Road” from 2004, Rascal Flatts does not repeat history. This collection is upbeat, optimistic, and plays well in live shows. The songs will get stuck in your head, and listeners will connect with the lyrics. “Rewind” is “Powerful Stuff.” (You'll understand the reference when you hear the album.)

Overall, the album is carefully crafted and the three men take a leap of faith. No track is played safely, and that is an advantage. They did not create cookie-cutter country pop songs. Rascal Flatts creates a style all their own, one that will shoot them straight back to the top. Buy the album and crank your speakers. You will be rocked Rascal Flatts style.

Key tracks: “Rewind,” “I Have Never Been to Memphis,” “Riot,” “I'm on Fire,” “The Mechanic.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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