Review Summary: At first glance, this is probably the most depressing RF album to date, but listen closer and you'll find the glimmer of hope you desperately needed.
When you think of Rascal Flatts, you usually think of warm, lively harmonies and vivid images of summertime, but on this album, they take a very solemn approach to guiding the listener on the road to hope.
The album opens up with "Love Who You Love", a sweet melody that encourages you to love with all of your heart and appreciate what you have in the here and now. But for the next 3 tracks, you can't help but to feel a bit downtrodden and sad. For instance, "Here Comes Goodbye" brings up the ever familiar feeling of knowing that a relationship is about to end. Follow that with "Close" and "Forever", and you have a heart string-tearing trio that will have you remembering every breakup you've ever experienced and wanting to cry in a corner. "She'd Be California" is a poor attempt at invoking thoughts of a young beauty after all of the heartache you just endured in the previous tracks. You probably see her dumping you instead of appreciating her tan and love of sports cars. Finally, a break in the sadness is "Unstoppable", a poignant piece that gives you the injection of courage you need. "Things That Matter" follows that vein of thought and makes you sit back and ponder just what is important in life. By "Summer Nights", a track filled with the imagery of grills on the beach and sun tan lotion, you're ready to pack your stuff and hit the road for a party, but the feeling doesn't last long. The last 3 tracks on the album bring you back down to the dismal pit of despair you thought you had gotten rid of a few songs back.
You would think that the depression you suffered throughout the album would make never want to listen to it again, but here's the catch: there's a reason behind the self-inflicted pity party. The beauty of the whole record are the little reminders in each song that there is hope on the horizon. Take "Close" for example. Yes, the woman is holding onto possessions of her ex that withering each day she has them, BUT the lyrics, "She's still in hell, but she tells herself she's ready to let him go" makes you pull for her in your head to push on and find happiness again. The more you listen, the more hope you find embedded in each song.
So pull out the tissue, grab a blanket, and settle in for one long road to a better place.