Written by Jaron Boyer and Sara Haze
This is quite the quiet riot. Rascal Flatts return to their signature ballad sound on “Riot”, which has moments that sound like a throwback to “What Hurts the Most.”
Unlike that classic hit, which soared with melodramatic intensity, this one never leaves first gear. All of the effective atmosphere that’s built up during the first verse dissolves into a very bland chorus that lacks any punch. Perhaps that’s because the whole conceit of there being “a riot breaking up my heart” if their love goes south doesn’t make much sense.
Maybe they went the softer production route to replicate the contradiction between the lyric and their performance, but whatever the reason, “Riot” is a remarkably dull record. It’s the kind of song you could have playing in an elevator when it got stuck between floors, and title aside, it would likely keep the trapped passengers docile while they waited for help.