Saturday, June 19, 2010

Albums2010 #12: Cracked Rear View

I get the sensation, probably incorrectly that people these days tend view Hootie and the Blowfish as kind of 90s college radio has-beens. Which is kinda sad, because with Cracked Rear View, they produced one of the great albums of the decade that stands the test of time pretty well. I don't think it'll wind up on a 'greatest albums ever' list anytime soon, but if you're looking for good music, Hootie and the Blowfish deliver the goods both in general and especially with this album.

Of course, the memory I have of this album that sticks out the most is of (then Miami QB) Dan Marino, running around the video for 'Only Want To Be With You' chucking the ball down the field to (lead singer) Darius Rucker and generally looking confused about just why it was the Dolphins made poor Darius cry. The hits from this album ('Let Her Cry', 'Hold My Hand', 'Only Want To Be With You' and 'Time') were played to death on the radio when I was growing up. If there was one thing this band was good at, it was producing hits that radio stations just loved to play again and again and again. But what sticks out to me the most about this album are the songs that didn't necessarily get the play on the radio, most notably: 'Running From An Angel' and 'Not Even The Trees'

With 'Running From An Angel' it's pretty easy to see how Darius Rucker ended up going country. There's a distinct country flavor to the entire song, from the opening string section right on through the entire track. It's got a good beat and in general, I just love the song. 'Not Even The Trees' though is probably the best song on the entire album- a slow, melancholy song about, well, I'm not sure what exactly, other than trees, it's another gem that gets buried in the radio hits that crowd this album.

What else is there to say about Hootie and the Blowfish? Not much... except for these gems from the Missus:

They're freakin' awesome.

If you can sing 'em at karaoke, you're awesome.

Cuba Gooding Jr. is not Hootie.

To me that pretty much sums it up. One of the best bands of the 1990s, they aren't really given a lot of credit for being pretty damn good. And with Cracked Rear View, they produced one of the best albums of the decade. (Also one of the first cassettes I ever purchased- a recurring theme with these few albums on my list, I guess.) The radio hits should be obvious to anyone who was near a radio in the 90s and there are a lot of buried gems that people don't get to hear that much.

Overall: The best of the 90s, Cracked Rear View may not be entering rock n'roll immortality anytime soon, but if you're after good music, Hootie and the Blowfish get the job done in excellent fashion with this album.

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