One of the first ever Country Albums I bought was “Still Feels Good” by Rascal Flatts. Admittedly I noticed, “Life Is a Highway” on the back of the album, which made it a quick purchase. That very song is one that brings back fond memories even if it was from Disney Pixar’s’ Cars when Lightning McQueen & Mack leave the race circuit and head off to Radiator Springs.
Although the album isn’t full to the rim of feel-good songs, it’s still something unique in its own right. It’s still Country through and through & the relatable factor of the genre is still ever more present. What I like about Rascal Flatts is that they don’t rely on instrumental backings to fundamentally compose and produce their music as on a vocal level they’re both distinct & immediately recognisable.
The Tracklist Includes;
- “Take Me There”
- “What Hurts The Most”
- “Life Is A Highway”
- “Help Me Remember”
- “Still Feels Good”
- “Bless The Broken Road”
- “Winner At A Losing Game”
- “Every Day”
- “No Reins”
- “She Goes All The Way”
- “Secret Smile”
- “Better Now”
- “It’s Not Supposed To Go Like That”
“Take Me There” is the first track you are greeted to on “Still Feels Good” There’s one element to “Take Me There” that I greatly admire. Just like a good novel should hook you in from the get-go I feel that “Take Me There” is cleverly produced in the way it begins. It starts off with a slow-paced drum beat accompanied by a few strings. After the first few opening seconds, the distinct vocals of Gary LeVox kick in. He doesn’t just match the pace of the instrumentals, but he adds to the style bringing in something truly unique. Both the backing instrumentals and the vocals of the trio match to the lyrical element providing a powerful song that clearly tells its own story.
“What Hurts The Most” as the song title suggests is not one of those feel-good, upbeat songs. But what I again like about this particular rendition is that the vocals not just of Gary LeVox, but the backings to of Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney add to the whole feel without changing the core style. I wouldn’t highlight any of the instrumentals as again they’re just right for this track without shifting the focus from the vocal fidelity.
“Here” following on from “What Hurts The Most” turns the mood around into a more feel-good sort of song. The addition of the Violin adds to a more soothing feel that as a whole transports the listener from start to finish, accompanying the vocal power of Mr LeVox making this a worthwhile listen.
“Life Is A Highway” takes it one step further. What makes me adore this particular track is that it highlights the very fact that Country Music can be relatable. The lyrical aspect of the song doesn’t sway of the beaten road; it makes for something truly special. With it you have both suitable instrumentals with even the solo providing for something distinct and original. The backings of Joe Don Rooney & Jay DeMarcus once again fit perfectly adding to the value of what makes this one of the albums standout tracks.
“Help Me Remember” takes it down a level once again from it’s more upbeat counterparts. It emphasises more on the vocal array of Rascal Flatts as an entirety. There are more backings throughout accompanying Gary, which due to the nature of this song works tremendously well. They’ve done an amazing job at making the components in “Help Me Remember” suitable for purpose as everything seems to fit right into place.
“Still Feels Good” is a beautiful blend of vocals and instrumentals working well together in a harmonious way. There’s nothing I can criticise as for say with regards to the track as listening to it “feels good.” It makes for an enjoyable listen as even the lyrics work well with all the other components. Nothing takes away from this piece the instrumental ending on the guitars proves that they aren’t just vocally talented but that they can really play out those strings.
“Bless The Broken Road” takes a different approach as you can tell upon its opening. It kicks off with a soothing sound coming straight from one of the less used instruments in Country Music the grand old Piano. Along with the Piano, Gary LeVox takes his wide vocal talent and fits it wonderfully to form a harmonious connection between himself and the instrument. “Bless The Broken Road” is a fine example of a Country Song that wouldn’t feel the same if you were to change any part of it, as it’s both soothing and relaxing making it adhere well to the songs lyrics.
As love songs go “Winner At A Losing Game” fits well to the whole context of love. I mean again it’s a cleverly produced piece as it works well at accompanying the vocals of the group. Right from the start you can tell its Country as it doesn’t start off with an insane electronic beat but rather a calming opening that consists of one of the classic Country twangs.
“Every Day” is one of those classic examples of a song that gains momentum throughout. It starts off slow with the use of the humble Piano and gains as soon as Gary LeVox hits those high notes with “Every Day” highlighting indeed that “Every Day” is the main subject matter of the track. The instrumental use of the guitars adds well to the songs clarity as they back up the piano once again in an appropriate fashion. This ensures that the Piano remains the main focal instrument right up until the guitar solo towards the later half.
“No Reins” is one of the most encouraging songs of the entire album in regards to the lyrical sense where it talks about a woman breaking free and pushing forward with her life. What I like about this particular track is that the message of the song works incredibly well with the use of the vocals of the entire group in conjunction with the backing instruments. If you were looking for a feel-good song, then this really is one of them.
“She Goes All The Way” is one of the albums special treats when it comes to the vocal department. This track is truly diverse as it brings variations to the lead vocalist. To begin Mr LeVox opens up with some truly captivating words that draw you in so that you don’t want to stop listening. The highlight of this particular track is most definitely the vocal diversity. The instrumentals fit again incredibly well, but the vocals are something truly incredible in the talent aisle of the vocal department.
“Secret Smile” kicks the beat up once again. It’s a sure feel good song. If the “Hey, Hey” by Gary isn’t anything to go by then, I don’t know what is. It starts off with immediate energy that grabs your attention that just make you want to carry on listening. The instrument department is again but to full use matching the energy of the vocals and providing to an already excellent piece.
“Better Now” is one of the more engaging songs that instantly pulls on heartstrings. The message of the song is deep as it makes you think while providing fuel for thought to help you get past your time of hardship. The speciality of this track is the way in which it delivers its message of hope through the use of the vocals and the instruments. It really is a powerful song that to be fully appreciated must be heard.
“It’s Not Supposed To Go Like That” is another song that is powerful at delivering fuel for thought. It makes you appreciate the essence of life being delicate and that all it takes is an instance for it all come to a grinding halt. It takes sheer talent not just to create but to produce something that tugs at your emotional side. It just goes to add to the notation of this being a unique stand-alone song as it has its own strengths that make it a fine addition to “Still Feels Good.”
As I never give a score or a numerical rating to an individual album or artist, this is my own personal way on judging a set piece. Overall this album may not be the most of upbeat or joyous of Country albums. It does have a place as a standalone piece that is as unique as it is diverse providing something that displays the vocal, and instrumental talent of this well-known Country group.
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