Using the word rewind in 2014 is a bit dated and quaint, don’t you think?
But it’s better than “re-fall” and “re-fly”, the uses of which nearly derail in the bridge what has been a satisfactory journey so far. The concept might be old school, but the Rascal Flatts boys are still very much in the present, turning in a nice variation on their trademark harmonies that allow Gary LeVox to let loose a little bit. He’s not as nasal as he’s been in the past, and when he goes for the power vocals toward the end, he sounds a lot more raw than I can ever remember hearing him.
There’s something slightly melancholy about Rascal Flatts these days. A major commercial act that was never known for its artistry has begun to fade. Their relevance is on shaky ground, almost sadly dependent on the whims of radio and consumer interests. I don’t know why their sound slowly went out of style, any more than I can tell you why they were moving four million units an album at their peak.
But against today’s landscape, there’s something comforting about the way that they’re still doing things. They may not be at the top of the game, but at least they’re still playing.
Written by Chris DeStefano, Ashley Gorley, and Eric Paslay
A breakthrough single that’s as notable for what it isn’t as for what it is.
“Friday Night” is nothing special in terms of lyrical content, and while Paslay is a competent singer, there’s nothing on the track that indicates he’s the next Keith Urban, or even the next Blake Shelton. But he’s learned a few lessons along the way about what not to do. The arrangement is simple, the musicianship clean and crisp, and the banjo drives the hook, rather than loud electric guitars or cumbersome percussion.
But I think what I like the best about “Friday Night” is its brevity. Clocking in at just under three minutes, Paslay’s single ends a little abruptly, just when you think it’s going to devolve into an endless chorus with louder vocals and busier instrumentation. It’s a production approach that makes a great song go on for too long, and a tolerable one become insufferable.
So kudos to Eric Paslay for not wearing out his welcome the first time around.
Written by Rob Crosby, Rose Falcon, and Eric Paslay
The list of nominees for the 46th annual Country Music Association Awards has been released. Eric Church had a big breakthrough this past year, and such is reflected in the nominee list – Church leads the pack with five nominations. Power couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert follow with four each, including a shared Song of the Year nod for their co-write “Over You.”
What’s your take on this year’s field of CMA nominees? Whose nominations were deserved, and whose were not? Who got snubbed? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
The live presentation airs Thursday, November 1 at 8pm Eastern on ABC-TV. The Country Universe Staff Picks & Predictions will be released the week of the show. Feel free to join us on show night for some live-blogging fun!
Entertainer of the Year
Who’s in: Kenny Chesney
Who’s out: Keith Urban
No real surprises here. This year we swapped out Urban for Chesney, but all of these nominees have been here at least once before.
Female Vocalist of the Year
Who’s in: Kelly Clarkson
Who’s out: Sara Evans
Well, I was hoping for some new blood in this category, and that’s definitely what I got. Pop crossover star Kelly Clarkson scores her first nomination in the Female Vocalist field, displacing Sara Evans. There will likely be some amount of upset over Clarkson receiving such an accolade, as she had one #21-peaking country hit in the past year with “Mr. Know It All,” but has yet to release a full-length country album. And…that makes her one of the top five leading female vocalists in the country format? Okay…
Male Vocalist of the Year
Who’s in: Luke Bryan, Eric Church
Who’s out: Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley
Bryan and Church’s recent career strides are rewarded