Still Feels Good Enhanced
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|1. Take Me There|
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|4. Help Me Remember|
|5. Still Feels Good|
|6. Winner at a Losing Game|
|7. No Reins|
|8. Every Day|
|9. Secret Smile|
|10. Better Now|
|11. She Goes All the Way|
|12. How Strong Are You Now|
|13. It's Not Supposed To Go Like That|
Rascal Flatts ~ Still Feels Good
Rascal Flatts has always been an anomaly in country music. Signed to the Disney label Lyric Street, they arrived in 2000 as essentially a trio (winning lead vocalist Gary LeVox fronted pin-up boy Joe Don Rooney on electric guitar and Jay DeMarcus on bass) that traveled and recorded with additional musicians to make up a full band. Despite their workingman backgrounds, their repertoire was so pop-oriented that hardly anyone could really call them country, and the group bristled at being dubbed Nashville's Boy Band. Yet while they were primarily marketed to teens (the young set screams their lungs out in concert), a lot of adults found their bouncy, bubbly radio tunes irresistible. And in 2006, when they released their fourth album, the quadruple-platinum Me and My Gang, they sold more than 700,000 records the first week, ending up as the best-selling artists of the year across all genres. Now comes the follow-up, and with the group sharing production credit with hit-meister Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Faith Hill), they turned out an extremely well-built album of heavily layered, grown-up pop. (The one country-ish song, "Bob that Head," about the joys of Friday night cruising in a tricked-out truck, almost amounts to a rap.) DeMarcus has said that the band took its time making the record, and it shows--everything about it telegraphs a growing maturity. Not only do Rooney and DeMarcus play on every cut (which they didn't do until Me and My Gang), but the trio has a hand in writing much of the material that doesn't come from the pens of Nashville's most reliable songsmiths (Jeffrey Steele, Neil Thrasher, Steve Robson, Hillary Lindsey, and headliner Kenny Chesney on "Take Me There"). It all goes down quite smoothly, from the sexy title track to the pain ballad "Better Now," to the (too-obvious) social commentary of "It's Not Supposed to Go Like That." As a measure of that, even actor/singer Jamie Foxx's guest appearance on the silky "She Goes All the Way" blends seamlessly with the rest of the material, much of it crafted to manipulate the emotions with power choruses, stinging electric guitar solos, and throbbing drums. But unlike the Rascals' other albums, there aren't many story songs here. And though LeVox's hangdog tenor hammers home the devastating ache of failed relationships ("Help Me Remember"), there's no standout tune like "What Hurts the Most," and not a lot of this sticks in your head after it's gone. Yes, as the title promises, it "Still Feels Good," but only for a little while. -Alanna Nash
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The types of songs found in all of Rascal Flatts albums range from break-up, to new love, to that one ridiculous song that people just can't help but jam out to. One can get an idea of what the songs are about just by the title. For example, the song, "How Strong Are You Now" relays the feelings of a tough guy's experience after a break-up. "She Goes All The Way" explains that heart-felt admiration for a lucky woman, and "Still Feels Good" not only talks about keeping the love alive be also seems to describe the band's career up to date, thus earning the power to name the album. Although their sequence of songs follows a natural rhythm of slow to fast, there is always one song that is the misfit in the album. "Bob That Head" plays that role because it has a very different sound from the rest of the songs. The meaning of the song doesn't help its awkwardness since it is all about a truck. "Bob that head/Every Friday night/Got the windows rolled down," the lyrics are not only annoying but pointless. Rascal Flatts can sing about anything they want, but a truck? Seriously? The same occurrence can also be found in previous albums such as their 2006 album Me and My Gang, with the song "Backwards". Although the lyrics of these songs can be catchy, they mostly just stick out like a sore thumb. However, the album as a whole has a nice flow of songs from one to the next.
Although the themes behind Rascal Flatts latest songs are nothing new, they have a talent of crafting creative ways to word the songs. For example, the song "Secret Smile" talks about that happy, goofy feeling of a new love and Rascal Flatts phrases it by saying, "You make the sun shine down/You paint the darkest clouds and turn them into rainbows," which can put a smile on anyone's face. They add a sweet twist when describing a new love. Also, the song "Better Now" describes the feelings after a break-up. "Next time, I won't suffer this kind of pain/Own my mistakes not just pass off the blame". Many people tend to dwell on the mistakes of a relationship after it ends, which is the message the song expresses. The thing about Rascal Flatts is that they are consistent. Some common ingredients found in each of the songs are the references to women and manly things such as trucks or beer. The songs can start to sound very similar, yet they never fail to speak to the souls of women everywhere. Not saying that Rascal Flatts doesn't have any fans who are men, they just know how to compliment women in all the right ways.
Rascal Flatts would not be the success that they are today without that recognizable voice of lead singer Gary LeVox. With his unique voice, he sings with the power that could move mountains. During the up-beat and happy songs his tone cannot help but put people in a good mood. Gary LeVox's voice then transforms like a chameleon into the slow, sad songs. His ability to put emotion into what he is singing makes people feel as if he is speaking directly to them. He is a smooth talking, lyric singing son of a gun. Gary LeVox has made his voice known in the country world. He could be recognized as the modern day Garth Brooks with a boy band nice guy next door kind of twist. Although some may argue that his voice gets monotonous, Gary has felt no pressure to change his ways. One should also not ignore the other two guys in the group. They are the ones with the instrumental talent but seem to keep getting lost in the over powering shadow of the lead singer. Although they can be forgotten, it has not yet upset the balance of the band. With their chill and laid back attitude, life can't be all bad being a part of a band that sells millions of copies of every album.
Rascal Flatts is good at what they do: making country music. They have created a name for themselves that is well-recognized all over the world. Their unique sound and style is what sets them apart from other artists. Their ability to have women holding on to their every word keeps them consistent in their writing. The band's charm is undeniable and anyone who can't see it must not be listening to the right group. However, it is questionable how many more similar albums they can make and still experience the same success they have today. Consistency is a good thing, but it can become boring after awhile. The real challenge for Rascal Flatts in the next couple of years will be to create a different sound while maintaining their boy band characteristics that people have come to expect. For now, they will continue to do what works so Still Feels Good is the perfect name for their latest album because that is exactly how Rascal Flatts should feel. With their country-pop sound and artistic songs, Rascal Flatts is the biggest name in country today, and it still feels good.
Whatever the song is, they make it with great quality and you feel that it comes from their very heart and soul.
"Here", "Still Feels Good", "Winner at a Losing Game", "No Reins", "She Goes All The Way" and "How Strong Are You Now?" are my highlights. They make the purchase of this album be worthy.