You may think you know what's next. This is where I say that the ten years Rascal Flatts has graced us with their screeching has been the worst era of commercial country music. This is where I blame them for influencing the further drift towards pop music. This is where I punch Gary The Voice in his scrotum for assaulting my eardrums on multiple occasions.
Wrong. While all that may be true, it's not worth arguing any more. Country is dead, long live country... whatever.
Fact is, for some reason I still listen to, report on, ridicule and lament country radio. Rascal Flatts is still played hourly on country radio. To that end, while I am not a fan, I want Flatts' music to be as good as it can be if I'm gonna have to hear it. Granted, the bar has been set low, but once upon a time, I counted the country boy-band as a guilty pleasure - or at least some of their songs. Those particular songs are all over 5 years old.
Since that time, RF has coasted on their relatively crappy resume, putting out song after song that barely differed from the last, at least musically. Now, I don't expect the guys to get all adventurous and put out, heaven forbid, an actual country album... or push the boundaries of commercial country in an artistic or positive direction, so I request quite the opposite.
Dance with who brung ya. Regress. Keep it simple stupid.
"Prayin' for Daylight" and "Everyday Love" introduced us to the "band" with big hooks, soaring harmonies and memorable melodies. "I Melt" was uh, cheesy goodness. "What Hurts the Most" and "These Days" were irresistibly catchy downers. "Bless the Broken Road" and "I'm Movin' On" were simple gems. Even the lyrically insipid "Mayberry" was an earworm.
Since those high water marks, aside from a couple of tolerable singles, pretty much all you've given us are mid-tempo inspirational tracks out the wazoo. There's hardly a hair's width difference between "Stand," "Unstoppable" and "Every Day." Great, they gave you airplay and ad placement, but yawn. If I want to hear elevator music, I'll go downtown. "Here?" Even the title just sits there.
If you're wondering why you're lacking in the award nominations recently, look no further than the above song releases. If even the country music machine is sick of you, something's very wrong.
You've got a cash cow in your harmonies and commercial persona. Milk it. Pop it up guys (can't believe I said that). Get campy. Do something! Don't just sit there. Much worse, in pop culture, than being a lightning rod, is being a limp dishrag.
C'mon guys, make it a little more interesting to hate you. Right now, you're fish in a barrel.
You know what's coming. A sackpunch designed to definitely hurt the most.