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Nothing Like This ()

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After the lethargic hubris of Rascal Flatts' sixth album Unstoppable it seemed like the friendly trio had settled into a carefully calculated rut so it's good to hear that switching labels for 2010's Nothing Like This has revived the band considerably. Nothing Like This doesn't offer anything new - if ever there was a band adverse to risk, it's Rascal Flatts who have never strayed from the sunny sound of their 2000 debut - but everything from the melodies to the very sound of the tight 11-track record seems brighter than the trio's last few records. Certainly, Rascal Flatts have made a conscious decision to not drift toward sleepiness, injecting a high number of propulsive tunes into the body of the record. Several of these have the echoing pulse of an arena - the opening "Why Wait," "All Night To Get There" - but they also ride "Red Camero" on chords reminiscent of "Life Is A Highway," jauntily skip through "Play" and take "Tonight Tonight" to the verge of rock & roll. Naturally, they haven't abandoned ballads, going so far as to enlist Natasha Bedingfield for a questionable stab at pop radio crossover, but the emphasis isn't these slow, swaying numbers, the album is all about balance, all about executing the usual with precision. It's a fresh coat of paint on a sturdy old house. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi Hide synopsis

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