Me and My Gang

Studio Album by released in 2006
Me and My Gang's tracklist:
Stand
What Hurts the Most
Backwards
I Feel Bad
My Wish
Pieces
Yes I Do
To Make Her Love Me
Words I Couldn't Say
Me and My Gang
Cool Thing
Ellsworth
He Ain't the Leavin' Kind

Me and My Gang review

Me and My Gang finds the trio true to form and even scaling new heights

Rascal Flatts, a country trio known primarily for their pleasing harmony, is comprised of Gary Levox, Jay DeMarcus, and Joe Don Rooney. Second cousins Demarcus and Levox, both from Columbus, OH, founded the group and later added Rooney, a Picher, OK, native, to sit in as a substitute guitar player at a Printer's Alley gig in Nashville. Demarcus and Rooney were also playing in country star Chely Wright’s band at the time. The rest is history. Nashville-based country-pop superstars Rascal Flatts can seemingly do no wrong. Their first three albums sold remarkably well on the strength of the band's streamlined, commercially oriented sound and penchant for swelling, heart-tugging ballads. Me and My Gang, the group's fourth release, finds the trio true to form and even scaling new heights. Rascal Flatts’ sound revolves around Gary Levox’s vocal range, sterling harmonies from Jay Demarcus and Joe Don Rooney and accessible, earnestly rendered country/pop built for radio. The Levox-Darmarcus-Rooney triumvirate has already chalked up crossover plaudits for their work producing Chicago's new XXX, and this new Rascal Flatts’ long-player features them behind the board as well, along with the formidable Dan Huff.

The album’s lead-off single uses Rascal Flatts’ winning formula

That Rascal Flatts’ songs sound as comfortable on mainstream pop radio as they do on country stations is a testament to the band's crossover appeal, and Me and My Gang delivers on that appeal in spades. The album's lead-off single, What Hurts the Most, uses Rascal Flatts’ winning formula: it’s a ballad-tempo number with a lilting verse, sweetened by the group's patented harmonies, that segues into a soaring, heartrending chorus about love and loss. Not immune to heartbreak but prone to taking a sunnier view, the fellows offer a textbook course in recovering pride and dignity after being dumped in the thumping Stand and examine the life-affirming aspects of love and relationships in both the anthem-like love letter To Make Her Love Me and the tender, guitar-driven ballad My Wish. String-rich and keyed by weeping pedal steel, the wrenching Words I Couldn't Say features an emotional lead vocal by Levox that is quickly joined by Demarcus and Rooney's smooth support in bringing home the story of the one that got away. Another winner is the atmospheric Cool Thing. A clever, toe-tapping honky-tonk workout in the Brooks & Dunn-style Backwards and a funky, stuttering country rocker, Me and My Gang, provide an exhilarating, energizing contrast to the navel gazing treatises. It all adds up to rich listening experience – a commonplace occurrence when this group convenes.

Rascal Flatts make pop music for mature audiences under the guise of country

Ever since their eponymous 2000 debut there has been more pop than country in Rascal Flatts' contemporary country-pop, but with each subsequent record the trio has been drifting slowly, steadily toward outright adult pop, which is where they arrive on their fourth album, Me and My Gang. While some country-pop does place equal emphasis on country, Rascal Flatts make pop music for mature audiences under the guise of country, partially because pop music doesn't have much room for adults anymore. Not that Rascal Flatts are always serious, but they do not make any concessions to sounding young, which does make them kind of unique among mainstream groups of any kind in 2006. Furthermore, Rascal Flatts are good at this kind of thing: they choose their material well, pick the right musicians and producers, and turn out appealing slick music that always sounds good. Me and My Gang is another leap forward for the group, shaping and directing their own music, working some interesting variations on their basic formula, but never diminishing their clear commitment to the music and the messages. Rascal Flatts continue to deliver exactly what their fans have come to love and expect, and that's a virtue, since it is hard for pop groups of any stripe to be both consistent and reliable, which is exactly what the trio proves they are with this solid-as-a-rock fourth album.

(11.04.2006)
Rate review4.86
Total votes - 268


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