A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is compilation features material already released on the band's earlier albums. A limited number of first-edition copies include a bonus disc with three Christmas songs. Rascal Flatts' sometimes-saccharine ballads are their trademark, so most of the songs have themes of love and its loss. With the exception of a few allusions to sex, the songs are all appropriate for kids.
What's the story?
GREATEST HITS: VOL. 1 is a retrospective collection of Rascal Flatts hits. Power ballads and soft rock meet slide guitar and twang to create the essential formula for crowd-pleasing platinum country. Also part of that formula are songs about love lost -- and there are plenty of those here, too. Even if you don't know much about the band, you'll recognize the crooning "What Hurts the Most," as well as the group's "Life Is a Highway" cover from the Cars soundtrack.
Is it any good?
Fans hoping to find surprise new tracks might be disappointed. The lack of new recordings, combined with the Christmas bonus CD, make the album smell strongly of holiday-season marketing. But considering the volume of work this trio has racked up, they were due for a collection of hits, and anyone without all the band's albums will find this to be a good sampler. And the Christmas covers, including a nicely harmonized "I'll Be Home for Christmas," are good, even if country isn't your thing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why the band didn't release any new material on this album. Why do you think bands do that? Would you still want to buy it if you already had all the other Rascal Flatts albums? What about the bonus Christmas songs -- are they enough to make you want to buy an album of music you already own? Why do you think the band picked the songs they did for the compilation?