Single Review: Rascal Flatts, “Riot”

Rascal Flatts Riot

Rascal Flatts

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.

Grade:  D


  1. Eh I didn’t hate the song the lyrics I found to be really strong they sang it really well and the production wasn’t terrible. I guess my problem was it doesn’t take off but hey this song was a lot better than Payback.

    Overall a low B- or a C+. These guys are at least going on the right pace but they have a long way too go before I can take them seriously.

  2. Rascal Flatts lost me the first time I heard them sing live in concert. It was terrible. Gary LeVox’s live singing voice is a hit or miss situation. This song is a station changer for me.

  3. Hey thanks so much for reviewing this I requested it earlier!

    I usually agree with your thoughts and am not a very big Rascal Flatts fan but I actually quite like this song. I thought the lyrics were very above average for country radio and the vocal was also good. I felt the production was the worst feature and brought the song down a few notches. I would give the song a very solid B+ and it is my favorite song currently at radio.

    I highly recommend you look at this version they did:

    This version works so much better because it is loaded with dobro. I heard this version before the album version. If you do check out that video, let me know what you think of it!

  4. Like Gloria, RF lost me the first time I heard them sing live. I had been considering buying tickets to see them, but luckily for me I saw them on a tv show and decided not get the tickets.

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