Album Spotlight: Rascal Flatts, ‘Back to Us’
Rascal Flatts call Back to Us a return to their roots, but sonically their newest studio album is quite progressive. They’re not as experimental, but nothing about the songs screams early 2000s radio.
The trio stretches most on “Dance,” with a drum machine driving the majority of a song that makes you do as the title suggests. “Love With You’ve Done With the Place” is nearly as polished and more clever lyrically. This is a dynamic project, with singer Gary LeVox exploring love in ways they band hasn’t tried before. That’s saying something, because Rascal Flatts have cut a heck of a lot of love and love-lost songs.
Two surprises are “Are You Happy Now,” a soaring duet with Lauren Alaina, and “I Know You Won’t.” The latter was cut by Carrie Underwood for her Carnival Ride album, but Flatts’ version packs more believable heartache.
LeVox, Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus say they’re returning to the sound that made them famous on Back to Us, but really what that means is less weirdness. The trio seem to collectively admit they got a little too cute on the Rewind album, a mistake they don’t repeat. Some songs come off a little soft because of that, or maybe they just sound too timeless. But there are far more like “Vandalized” than there are “Hopin’ You Were Lookin’.”
Key Tracks: “Yours If You Want It,” “Are You Happy Now,” “Love What You’ve Done With the Place”
Back to Us. Besides being a song on the record, the group also feels it describes the feeling that has been building around their new music. “We’ve all been so energized by the process of making this album,” says LeVox in a press release. “This time around, the three of us have been able to really focus and work together on what we want to say at this point in our careers.”
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The Release Date
Back to Us was released on May 19.
The Record Label
Big Machine Records. It’s Rascal Flatts’ fifth studio release with the label since joining its roster in 2010. Other albums the group has released via Big Machine include 2010’s Nothing Like This, 2012’s Changed, 2014’s Rewind and 2016’s Christmas album, The Greatest Gift of All.
The Album Cover
The album cover was released on March 3, featuring the trio dressed in black, posing on a blue velvet couch. As usual, the band is the absolute focus of the album cover with text above and below.
Though the official producers have yet to be announced, it’s likely the band played a large role in the production of Back to Us. Rascal Flatts have earned production credits on every album since 2009’s Unstoppable; this shouldn’t be any different.
“Yours If You Want It,” was released on Jan. 6 as the album’s lead single. Penned by Jonathan Singleton and the late Andrew Dorff, the song revolves around giving your heart to the one you love.
“We all felt like ‘Yours If You Want It’ was the perfect way to introduce our fans and radio to the new music we’ve been making,” DeMarcus says. “We’ve been working really hard, and we’re very proud of this track, and what’s more, the late Andrew Dorff is a writer on it, and we are so honored to be a small part of making sure his legacy lives on. We have a special angel watching over it, for sure.”
The track listing has yet to be announced, but “Yours If You Want It” and “Back to Us” are officially on the album.
Rascal Flatts finished their 2016 Rhythm and Roots Tour in September, but no tour plans have been announced to promote Back to Us. Rhythm and Roots saw the act spend over three months on tour with Kelsea Ballerini and Chris Lane, and if Back to Us is accompanied by a tour, fans can expect a similar batch of pop-country artists to join the band once more.
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