Monday, August 16, 2010

Rascal Flatts, "Why Wait"

Here's something you probably didn't know about me:  I'm actually a former Rascal Flatts fan who fell off the bandwagon after so many craptastic singles.  Their output over the past few years has ranged from generic and average ("Take Me There") to perfectly atrocious ("Bob That Head").  The lyrics became too ridiculous and mediocre.  The vocals became too nasal and annoying.  Their style was overtaken by overblown arena rock, and eventually I stopped caring about them.

But what's this - a Rascal Flatts song with honest and meaningful lyrics, engaging vocal harmonies, and balanced and tasteful pop-country production?  Believe it, man.  Making the jump over to Big Machine Records might have been a good call after all.

"Why Wait?" - I haven't heard such a loaded title hook since "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You?"  There's a lot of meaning packed into those two simple words, and there are endless situations in which such a question could be posed.  In this case, it is posed by a man who wants to get hitched with his lover.  While the songwriters do not attempt to re-write the works of Hemingway, they do manage to effectively tell a story, and to capture the emotions of the song's character.

The well-crafted lyrics soar over killer production.  For once, producer Dann Huff has managed to strike a fine balance between contemporary country and rock elements.  Fiddles and electric guitars sit comfortably side-by-side in an arrangement that is nothing less than excellent.  In addition, this is the best that the boys' voices have sounded in years.  Their signature three-part harmonies are fully intact and sounding great.  There are no disastrous vocal acrobatics on Gary LeVox's part - rather, he does a fine job of channeling the song's joyful excitement into his delivery.

I haven't loved a Rascal Flatts song in forever, but for once, they seem to have gotten everything right.  Could this spectacular track be indicative of a new music direction for the trio?  If the Flatts were to release more great songs like this, it could go a long way toward making me a fan again.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)