As I have listened to the new Rascal Flatts album "Changed", it's obvious that they have not reinvented the wheel.  They don't have to.  Truth is, Gary, Jay and Joe Don could belch into a paper bag a dozen times, call it an album and the thing would still probably go gold.  But, I'm not one of those people that believes that artists have to keep reinventing themselves every time they do a new record.  It all comes down the the quality of the songs...and Rascal Flatts have gathered some really great songs...for the most part.

"Changed" opens with the title track and it's a rather bold statement of their Christian faith and who they are now compared to how they used to be.  The typical soaring Rascal harmonies are strong and a welcome start to this project.  This is my favorite song on the album...partially due to the bold subject matter.

"Banjo" picks up the pace considerably and (shockingly) includes actual banjo playing.  Go figure.  There's nothing deep in the lyrics...but it's a fun romp none-the-less.

"Hot in Here" has a Fast Cars and Freedom feel to me...which is a good thing if you like that song obviously.

"Come Wake Me Up" reminds me a lot of the super-deep harmonies of the first album...a great thing for those of us that still think that is the best Rascal Flatts album.

"She's Leaving" is a fun song that begins with kind of a "Me and My Gang" rhythm...but again, is backed by deeper harmonies than recent records.  Already, I can tell that this album is gonna be a pleaser for fans of early Rascal Flatts.

"Let it Hurt" has that very familiar "What Hurts The Most" piano (and lyric).  If there's one thing Gary's voice is good at conveying is dealing with pain (and I mean that as a compliment).

"Lovin Me" picks up the pace a little bit...with lyrics that are super-simple and again, deep layered harmonies.  Be prepared for many of Gary's patented "Woohoo" screams.

My second favorite song (and I can't even begin to tell you why) is "Hurry Baby".  I normally despise songs that have "Baby" in the title because I have yet to call a woman "Baby" without it sounding weird.  It's those harmonies again.  For whatever reason recent records seem to thin that down a bit...this is definitely one that harkens back to the beginning for Rascal Flatts.

"Sunrise" is another song about regrets and going down the wrong road ("Bless the Broken Road" anyone?) yet finding redemption.

"Great Big Love" starts out with Gary doing "Hey Hey!" and involves bad cell phone reception...so you know this isn't going to win a Pulitzer prize for lyrical brilliance...but that's not what people come to Rascal Flatts for anyway.  You get a fun song with high harmonies and no complaints from this guy.

"A Little Home" is about a girl studying for mid-terms...so I guess you have to give kudos to the band for encouraging the girl to pursue good grades.  Again a cell phone is mentioned, so I'm not sure if the upcoming Rascal Flatts tour is going to be sponsored by AT&T or if this is just a coincidence.  Gotta love product placement by Nashville.  Big harmonies in the chorus once again redeem the song for me.

"Friday" is flat-out (no Rascal pun intended) vintage "Me and My Gang" vibe.  The two songs are virtually inter-changeable.  Including "Na Na Na Na" chorus.  Not my favorite type of Rascal Flatts song, but I know many who will completely dig this one.

"Fall Here" is another album favorite for me.  Just love when these guys kick really sing together for the majority of the song and not wait for the chorus.  Gary is a great vocalist on his own, but let's face it...this is the sound that made Rascal Flatts the mega-band they are.

"Right One Time" has another Gary "Whooo!" in it...not that it's a bad thing.  Just another very familiar Flatts song that isn't particularly special, but a good uptempo song that keeps the album momentum going.

"Next to You, Next to Me" is such an appropriate song for Rascal Flatts to cover.  They gathered early fame for their cover of Shenandoah's "Church on Cumberland Road"...so for them to bring back this one from Shenandoah is spot on perfect.  Nice album closer.

Rascal Flatts will be in St. Louis at the Verizon Wireless on July 27th with Eden's Edge...be listening for your chance to win tickets on KICK-FM!