Nothing Like This
" Rascal Flatts has become one of America's best-selling acts by employing a consistent formula," I wrote last year when the band's Unstoppable arrived. " Rascal Flatts hasn't messed much with their time-tested approach on their sixth outing."
I guess it's once more with feeling, as the old saying goes. Never mind the title of this Ohio trio's seventh album, Nothing Like This, because its 11 new songs still sound a lot like all those past offerings. Which is to say, an upbeat collection of country-rock reflections on life and love.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
"I Won't Let You Go" is a tear-jerking ballad about a man's commitment to stand by his beloved ("I will stand by you/I will help you through/When you've done all you can do, and you can't cope/I will dry your eyes, I will fight your fight/I will hold you tight, and I won't let go"). "Why Wait" finds an impatient, love-struck man wanting to make the inevitable official with the girl he knows he'll spend the rest of his life with ("Forever's a given/It's already written/ … I know a little church with a preacher who could hook us up right way").
On "Sunday Afternoon," a man praises God for the blessing of being with the woman he loves ("I hear church bells ring/Blowing in with the breeze/As I stare in your eyes/Thanking God for this life that He's given me/You're a gift to me"). The title track emphasizes that a relationship is only getting better with time, while "They Try" finds a proud couple talking about how others look to them as a model of long-term stability and faithfulness. "Summer Young" reminisces innocently about the summer two people found each other and fell in love. Likewise, "Tonight, Tonight" revels in the simple pleasure of being with that special person who quickens your pulse.
"Play" gives permission for hardworking folks, in this case a single mom and a struggling farmer, to enjoy some much-needed R and R ("You've seen some hard times/ … But when you're smack-dab in the middle/You've got to play").
On "Easy," pop singer Natasha Bedingfield alludes to physical intimacy in a relationship that's ended ("The truth is I miss lyin' in those arms of his"). Similarly suggestive lines appear on "Sunday Afternoon" and "All Night to Get There." On the latter we hear, "Nowhere to be and all night to get there/All night, breathing the same air/Real close and real slow, baby/Just you and me and love laying right here." The title track mentions being "touched," "kissed" and "loved."
"Red Camaro" fondly recalls the good times had in such a car … but also "sweet wine and sunshine." The recreation suggestions on "Play" reference places and events not always considered to be wholesome ("Like it's midnight in Vegas/Mardi Gras in New Orleans/ … It's like lovers in Paris/Sunset Strip in L.A."). The song also talks about drinking champagne straight from the bottle.
The strong suggestion to elope in "Why Wait" could be characterized as recklessly impulsive, especially given the line, "Let's do it now and think about it later."
See what I mean? Rascal Flatts keeps delivering exactly what we've come to expect: perhaps 85% optimistic, gushy, faith-and-fidelity filled romance; 15% mild sensuality … with a quick champagne chaser at midnight in Vegas.