Songwriters: Tony Martin, Wendell Mobley, Neil Thrasher
Sometimes reviewing a new Rascal Flatts single feels somewhat pointless, as it’s fairly obvious that in most cases, the new offering will neither gain the group any new fans, nor scare off any old ones. From an unbiased standpoint, I can safely say that their new single “Banjo,” (from their upcoming album Changed, due out April 3) is fairly mediocre.
To the boys credit, there are a few common pitfalls that “Banjo” manages to avoid. Lead singer Gary LeVox doesn’t reach for any unnecessary power notes, which has often been an issue with some of the trio’s most grating singles. Though the production is loud, as expected, the titular instrument is given enough of a spotlight to strip away a layer of polish, though it eventually reaches the point where the banjo is predictably overwhelmed by Rock Band-esque bass riffs.
But while such characteristics serve to make the single mildly tolerable, they don’t make the song memorable, nor do they distinguish it on any meaningful level from the rest of the group’s roster of arena-ready up-tempos. It will more than likely supply the group with another chart hit, and a high-volume set opener for their live shows, but with inane lyrics and a forgettable melody, it won’t be worth coming back to after having been replaced by the next Rascal Flatts radio hit du jour.
Of course, one can always argue that it’s “just a fun song,” and indeed, there’s certainly nothing wrong with a little fun. The problem is that “Banjo” lacks the defining characteristics necessary to recommend it above all the other nonthreatening “fun songs” that populate country radio It’s only good enough to be average - It’s just not good enough to be actually good. One can try to discuss it charitably, but there’s no getting past the fact that “Banjo” is nothing more than what it aspires to be – disposable radio filler that’s here today, gone tomorrow.