Written by Zane Gurwitz. 21 October 2014.
In 2006, the country band Rascal Flatts released a game-changing album. This album gave the band more credit as country artists as opposed to the typical boy band they had been regarded as for most of their career. During this time of county music, other popular artists were those seen as manly men such as Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, and Jason Aldean. So for Rascal Flatts to be treated with less respect in the country community is understandable. However, their album, Me and My Gang, changed the womanizing boy band perspective of Rascal Flatts from many critics’ point of view. This album includes their most successful song “What Hurts the Most” as well as popular songs “Stand” and “My Wish”.
After the Rascal Flatts came together in 1999, they soon signed a record deal and came out with their first album in 2000 called Rascal Flatts. With so much success at the beginning of their career, they were bound to hear from many critics as well. Their biggest complaint from most critics was “they were the country equivalent of a boy band” which is expressed in Erick Trickey’s article “Rascal Flatts” (1). This was mainly due to the lead singer, Gary LeVox, who has a higher pitch and toned voice. While still having an attractive singing voice, the higher pitched voice, along with their emotional love songs, and their particular style of fashion gave them the sense of a boy band.
Due to all these negative reviews from the country world, the timing and purpose of the album Me and My Gang could not have been more perfect. This album has a more country feel while still applying their typical love and heart warming lyrics. This is why I believe they released this album at the time they did. It took some of the pressure off their back while being slightly more accepted by their country music peers.
While being part of the audience group intended for Me and My Gang, I
believe another intended audience was the country music critics and peers.At the surface, the song “What Hurts the Most” is about a man that loves a girl but watches her walk away and has so much to say to her but she will not listen. They were so close to being in love and happy but he could not quite get her to love him back. I believe this song has a deeper meaning such as that the Rascal Flatts are speaking to the congregation of country music. They just want to be accepted and loved by the country community and they are so close, but they cannot quite get the respect they deserve from them.
However, country music fans, for the most part, love this album. On Amazon out of 207 customer reviews, the average score was a 4.3 on a 5 star scale. Only 11.5% of reviews rated the album 2 stars or less. One customer, Tracey B. even states “I am using the song ‘My Wish’ for the mother/son dance at my son’s wedding.” So although a majority of country fans were extremely pleased, the intended audience, the community of country music and their music peers, were slightly less enthusiastic about the release of this album but were more accepting of Rascal Flatts.
Now that we explored many of the reasons behind the creation of the album Me and My Gang, I hope you have developed a greater understanding of the Rascal Flatts’ situation in country music during their career. Thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed it!