Album Review: Cracked Rear View
As one of the closet members of the population who are still afraid to admit their confusion over the term "alternative," I am amply qualified to write about Hootie and the Blowfish. Their sound may initially seem vaguely familiar and deceptively commercial, but as an experienced listener of their music I have found their roots are as enigmatic as their alternative classification. With the combined sounds of Memphis blues and Seattle grunge, Cracked Rear View conveys a sentimentality reminiscent of the folk singers of the sixties. With tracks ranging from "Hold My Hand" to "Not Even the Trees," the album is devoted to dissecting human relations. Issues of love and loneliness are interspersed with those of racism and death. The result is a map of the writers' lives that is reflective of the universal path we all take. Added to this hodgepodge of style and lyrics are the orgasmic vocals of Darius Rucker. He is the eye of the musical storm that is Hootie and the Blowfish. Even while he and the band are raging against the nation in my own personal favorite, "Drowning," his vocals massage the listener and bring her a little closer to paradise. In short, I worship at his musical throne. My only complaint is there are no clear pictures of him on the album cover (or of any of the members of the band). It will come as no surprise to the reader that I loved this album. So, to those of you who hated it and this review, I have some words of advice given to me by the late Lee Marvin in the polygamist musical Paint Your Wagon - "who gives a damn?" I have Darius to keep me company.