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Rascal Flatts

Changed – 2012 (Big Machine)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Rascal Flatts

To some, Rascal Flatts is little more than a trio of pretty boys, existing just on the periphery of traditional country music. And to some degree, these haters are correct. This ain't no honky tonk music. But there is still a lot of goodness wrapped inside all the overly ornate sonic packaging.

This new album's title track, for example, has all the power of a camp meeting revival ballad. Heck, the single Banjo sports some mighty fine picking from the inappropriately named Ilya Toshinsky, who was in the Russian band Bering Strait. Rascal Flatts is at its most unlovable (at least by more traditional country music loving standards) during She's Leavin, which sounds a little like Def Leppard gone country, when they really shouldn't go there. On Great Big Love, the band accents the track with rock power chords that simply don't rock. If you're going to toy with rock & roll boys, than doggone it rock! These fair criticisms aside, however, "Changed" still has enough good music on it for even a Rascal Flatts hater to love.