When he’s on, few vocalists commit to an emotion quite like Rascal Flatts‘ Gary LeVox. The singer will recklessly throw himself into love, heartbreak or desperation. ‘Come Wake Me Up,’ the new single from ‘Changed,’ is another fine example of how this trio continues to work at a level few country artists are aware of.

The ballad begins quietly, with a soft piano and LeVox singing at little more than a whisper. Even the first chorus is muted in comparison to the song’s cathartic close. “Turn the TV up loud just to drown out your voice, but I can’t forget / Now I’m all out of ideas and baby I’m down to my last cigarette,” he sings to begin the second verse. “Yeah, you’re probably asleep deep inside of your dreams / While I’m sitting here crying and trying to see / Yeah, wherever you are baby / Now I am sure you moved on and aren’t thinking twice about me and you tonight.”

A perfect Rascal Flatts song is easy to fall into, but not so easy that it relies on banal metaphors or country cliches. ‘Come Wake Me Up’ is certainly a familiar story, but it’s an original emotion and voice that will immediately connect with fans, especially those going through a difficult breakup. The trio simply soars above the mini-orchestra that marks the climax. It takes a few deep breathes to come down from this drama.

Tonight your memory burns like a fire / With everyone it grows higher and higher / And I can’t get over it, I just can’t put out this love / I just sit in these flames and pray that you’ll come back / Close my eyes tightly, hold on and hope that I’m dreaming / Come wake me up,” they harmonize during each chorus. The performance overflows with sincerity.

‘Come Wake Me Up’ is easily the Flatts’ best ballad since ‘Here Comes Goodbye.’ It’s slightly less effective than ‘What Hurts the Most’ — a song that could be considered their career song — and is among the highlights on ‘Changed.’


Listen to Rascal Flatts, ‘Come Wake Me Up’