Album Review: Darius Rucker – Learn To Live

Brady Vercher | September 16th, 2008

Darius Rucker - Learn To Live The barometer by which Darius Rucker’s stint as a country artist will be measured isn’t critical acclaim, but rather commercial success. Therefore, it shouldn’t be any surprise that Live To Learn doesn’t break new ground but treads familiar water, despite overtures to the contrary in pre-release press. Throughout twelve songs, Rucker demonstrates that he knows exactly what contemporary country is all about, going so far as to rehash common themes from recent popular songs.

On the album opener, “Forever Road,” Rucker showcases his ability to craft a hook by wrapping up a few cliche phrases with a kitschy line about sticking with his baby “down that forever road.” Indeed, every song on the album sounds as if it were crafted to be a potential single, with solid hooks and melodies aplenty, but at times the phrasing is more focused on selling those aspects at the expense of emotion. The following song, “All I Want,” however, doesn’t have any problem with emotion, rather, the attitude is a noteworthy highlight of the album as Rucker tells the wife he’s leaving that all he wants is “you to leave me alone.”

After the current single, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It, which goes by the same title as a Bobby Pinson penned tune and is destined to top the charts soon, is the title track; “Learn To Live” is a prototypical country song replete with cliches galore and a little wisdom from Grandpa Campbell: “You gotta learn and live to learn to live.” And it’s at this point that a dearth of originality becomes readily apparent.

“If I Had Wings” questions the injustices of the world à la Clay Walker’s “A Few Questions,” but the song lacks focus with Rucker merely stating that he’d know the answers to all those questions if he had wings and could fly to heaven. Basically, the message boils down to the only thing standing between Rucker and ultimate knowledge is the lack of a pair of wings. The concept for “Drinkin’ and Dialin’” wasn’t all that interesting when James Otto did it on a song with a nearly identical name, “Drink & Dial,” but where Otto’s interpretation embraced the humor of the topic, Rucker’s interpretation is too straightforward to allow much room for fun–it’s more like a PSA. “While I Still Got The Time” recalls a few different songs when Rucker promises to change his ways on his 39th birthday, claiming “I’m gonna work like I don’t need the money/I’m gonna laugh like I’m not afraid to cry/I’m gonna dance like nobody’s watching/I’m gonna love while I’ve still got the time.”

“I Hope They Get To Me In Time” is easily the most bizarre song on the album. Rucker sings from the point of view of a man who’s lying in a wrecked car as his life flashes before his eyes while hoping that the paramedics get to him in time. It’s a little too over the top to elicit the emotional response it strives for, especially considering Rucker’s rather calm delivery. On top of that, the same scenario was done by the Canadian alternative rock group Bare Naked Ladies on a tune called “Tonight Is The Night I Fell Asleep At The Wheel,” and like the Otto song, their interpretation outshines Rucker’s because they understand the implications of singing about such a scenario and blend it with their off-color humor (it’s backed by circus music).

The overall sound of Learn To Live is pleasant, if not as country as Rucker insinuated, and the lyrics don’t exhibit many flaws, but the lack of originality, occasional cloudy interpretations, and obvious catering to commercial influences makes for an album that can’t be considered much more than good ear candy.

3 Stars

2 Pings

  1. [...] "The overall sound of Learn To Live is pleasant, if not as country as Rucker insinuated, and the lyrics don't exhibit many flaws, but the lack of originality, occasional cloudy interpretations, and obvious catering to commercial influences makes for an album that can't be considered much more than good ear candy." — review by Brady Vercher "Rucker, with his vocal talent and claim to fame, had the resources and the freedom available to make an interesting country album, but instead chose to make a slickly commercial one." — Blake Boldt "I actually do think that "All I want" and "Drinkin and Dialin'" are far more "country" than what's on radio these days
  2. [...] Read the review of Learn to Live. [...]
  1. PaulaW
    September 16, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Who are some of the writers on the album? I know Darius co-wrote the first single with Clay Mills; did he co-write on all the others as well? (I’m just wondering if he was able to follow the “tried-and-true Nashville country formulatic writing” by co-writing with “tried-and-true Nashville country formulatic writers”.)

  2. Pierce
    September 16, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    I like good ear candy :)

    I’ll be seeing Darius on Demonbreun on Thursday. I’m interested to see how good he is live.

  3. Brady Vercher
    September 16, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    PaualW, he co-wrote all of them except for one. You can view all the writers on Wikiepdia.

  4. PaulaW
    September 16, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks Brady. I recognize most of those names, and am very familiar with some of them. I see that the producer (whom I’m not familiar with) got seven co-writes. ;-)

  5. m.c.
    September 16, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Paula–Frank Rogers has produced all of Brad Paisley’s albums, which I believe is where he got his start. He’s also produced Josh Turner and Darryl Worley, among others. He has a solid track record, for the most part.

    I know that Paisley is real obsessive in the studio and likes to try a lot of different ideas, and I understand Rogers is real patient and encouraging as a collaborator. He’s a laid back guy, and not as dictatorial as some Nashville producers. I know he occasionally writes songs, but I don’t remember him having as many co-writes before as he does on Rucker’s album.

  6. leeann Ward
    September 16, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Therefore, it shouldn’t be any surprise that Live To Learn doesn’t break new ground but treads familiar water, despite overtures to the contrary.”

    Sadly, I figured as much, judging by the first single. I wish I had been wrong.

  7. leeann Ward
    September 16, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    From Jim’s Q&A with Rucker: “For me, it was always “The countrier the better,” and that’s what I always said to the musicians and everyone. Capitol was really cool about it–they let me make the record I wanted to make. I think they were actually surprised when I brought the first two songs in because it was a lot more country than I think they thought it was gonna be.”

    This claim makes no sense after hearing the album. Did he think we wouldn’t notice?

  8. Blake Boldt
    September 16, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    I’ll admit I did enjoy “Drinkin’ and Dialin”, if only because it broke the monotony of the rest of the album. The rest of the review mirrors my thoughts. Rucker, with his vocal talent and claim to fame, had the resources and the freedom available to make an interesting country album, but instead chose to make a slickly commercial one. Disappointing, but not totally unexpected. Your first sentence is all too true.

  9. PaulaW
    September 16, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    M.C. – thanks for the info.

    I’m gonna listen to some of it tonight on the CMT site. I’m anxious to hear to two Rivers cuts.

  10. Kelly
    September 16, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    I actually do think that “All I want” and “Drinkin and Dialin’” are far more “country” than what’s on radio these days…but not countrier than Dale Watson!

  11. dudley
    September 16, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    The album’s a bit of a letdown for the reasons you suggest. But what redeems the album at least somewhat for me is that Darius Rucker has a distinctive and resonant voice that is a perfect fit for country music (traditional even more than contemporary). Sure, much of the material here is no more distinctive than, say, Kenny Chesney’s. But Rucker’s voice makes all the difference, particularly on “While I Still Got the Time” (country-soul that is very much Rucker’s wheelhouse). Not even his voice could stop me from feeling bored during the album’s middle section, but I quite enjoyed the 2-song-deep bookends to the album.

  12. Occasional Hope
    September 16, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    I love All I Want, and hope they make that one a single. It’s the countriest moment on the album (I detect the Radney Foster influence he’s talked about here, definitely), and imo the best; I rather wish the rest of it was in the same vein. My next favourite is Drinkin’ and Dialin’, which I also like a lot (and not coincidentally is also pretty solid country). Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It has been growing on me, and I quite like Forever Road, It Won’t Be Like This For Long, and While I Still Got The Time, even if they plough well-broken ground. (Have I heard the last of those before, or does the song just crib from others/draw on some extremely well worn cliches?) The record definitely sags in the middle, with the not very country and rather boring If I Had Wings and History In The Making. I Hope They Get To Me In Time is odd – something about the tone doesn’t quite work, and the story doesn’t really get anywhere. If feels like half a good song. Darius has an interesting voice which makes the more generic songs reasonably listenable, and overall I think I’ll probably buy it.

  13. Chris N.
    September 16, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    If I hear one more song about an old man dispensing advice, I’m going to punch the first old man I see.

  14. Brady Vercher
    September 16, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Occasional Hope, “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” is similar to Trace Adkins’ “You’re Gonna Miss This,” and “While I Still Got The Time” is like a blend of Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” and “My Next 30 Years.” Even “All I Want” is similar to George Strait’s “Give It Away,” but with more attitude.

    There was a little honky tonk flavor and some barroom piano on parts of the album that I dug, but overall, I don’t think I’ll be giving it many more spins.

  15. leeann Ward
    September 16, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    I love me some bar room piano!

    The lyric that you quoted from “While I Still Got The Time” really reminds me of something else, but I just can’t put my finger on it. It’s going to drive me insane.

  16. Brady Vercher
    September 16, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Leeann, you haven’t been listening to Guy Clark or Kathy Mattea, have you? Perhaps a little “Come From The Heart?”

    You got to sing like you don’t need the money
    Love like you’ll never get hurt
    You got to dance like nobody’s watchin’
    It’s gotta come from the heart if you want it to work

  17. Matt B.
    September 16, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    I actually think “I Hope They Get Me In Time” was done quite well. It’s quite an emotional song and I am perfectly happy Darius didn’t sing it as a hokey song. If you listen to the lyrics of the 2nd verse, Darius is singing about being the victim of a drunk driver. I like how they just lay that lyric out there and don’t get overly preachy about it.

  18. Brady Vercher
    September 16, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Matt, if the scenario weren’t over the top in the first place, the verse about the drunk is what helps send it there. It’s way too carefully designed to elicit an emotional response similar to Rascal Flatts’ “It’s Not Supposed To Go Like That.”

  19. leeann Ward
    September 16, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Brady! I think that’s it! Yay, I’ll be able to sleep tonight.

  20. Occasional Hope
    September 16, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    I thought I’d heard that wording before in a song.

  21. Rick
    September 16, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    What I want to know is that if Darius had never been with Hootie and the Blowfish would anyone care about this album, or more directly would it have ever been made? I was never a fan of Hootie and nothing I’ve heard off this CD is likely to make me a fan now. This kind of slick, commercial stuff from a former pop-rock star may play well on mainstream country radio these days, but it doesn’t get very far with me. Darius is no Jamey Johnson…..

  22. Matt B.
    September 16, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Rick,

    I have a friend who’s a hard country fan (Dale Watson, y’all) and she cannot stand Jamey Johnson. In fact, I thought of her when listening to “All I Want” because it DID remind me of something that would be on Jamey’s record and I could see him singing it produced the exact same way. So, Perhaps the ‘bias’ against Rucker’s pop-rock credentials should thrown out the window.

  23. Paula
    September 16, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    ok, i gave it one listen-through on cmt.com and when my daughter got home i played “all i want” and “get to me in time” for her. so obviously those were the two that i liked the best. i didnt like “alright” at all. i was doing other things while listening, so i cant give a fair assessment of the other songs lyrically, but i thought over all the “sound” of the album was pretty good. actually on “all i want” i was thinking of the charey pride live album where he says they asked him “how come you dont sound like you ‘sposed to sound?” well, darius doesnt either. he sounds just downright country on that particular song.

    i wont buy the album, but i might listen to some of it once more on cmt.com … then i’ll move on.

  24. Drew
    September 17, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I thought the album would be a real fluke after listening to the first five songs (excluding “Don’t Think…”) but thankfully it got better from “History In The Making” on. Not bad overall, hopefully I like it more as I go through it a few more times.

  25. PaulaW
    September 18, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Here’s an article in today’s Tennessean.

    http://tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080918/ENTERTAINMENT01/809180303

    Here’s my favorite excerpt:

    Enthused about signing Rucker, Dungan actually had to work to temper the singer’s enthusiasm for traditional country, in order to create an album that fell in line with today’s radio fare.

    “Half the songs he came in with were Vern Gosdin, tear-in-the-beer-type ballads, and the other half were Texas two-step shuffles,” Dungan said. “I said, ‘Darius, we can’t get either one of these kinds of songs played on radio.’ We wound up actually pushing him a little more to the Hootie side of things than the traditional side.”

    So, it seems Darius DID want to make a country album, and they wouldnt let him.

  26. northtexas
    September 22, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Apparently Darius is a Carrie Underwood fan and does a cover of “All American Girl”…wonder how that works?

    http://www.countrycountdownusa.com/

  27. Thomas
    September 23, 2008 at 7:38 am

    although mathematically incorrect, three star ratings (quite justified in this case) always make me ask myself: “is the glass half full or half empty?”

    overall, it feels like half full. it’s a pleasant album by an artist, who’s got nothing left to prove. however, because of being in such a comfortable position, a somewhat more adventurous approach by darius rucker would have been appreciated.

    this effort serves as a good door-opener into the country genre. but after a warm welcome, fans will be curious, whether he can bring something more substantial to the table next time.

  28. Razor X
    September 23, 2008 at 7:57 am

    “Apparently Darius is a Carrie Underwood fan and does a cover of “All American Girl”

  29. Chris N.
    September 23, 2008 at 9:45 am

    “All-American Girl” is a third-person narrative, so theoretically a man could sing it without changing a word.

  30. Brody Vercher
    September 23, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Even if it wasn’t a third-person narrative it would fall in line with several recent songs that feature gender role reversals. Brady pointed a few out in his review of Becky Schlegel’s song “Jenny.”

  31. northtexas
    September 23, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    “It didn’t work when Carrie did it either.’

    Since it was a #1 single for her apparently it just didn’t work for you.

  32. Rainbow
    September 23, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    “Since it was a #1 single for her apparently it just didn’t work for you.”

    And me.

  33. Razor X
    September 23, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    “Since it was a #1 single for her apparently it just didn’t work for you.”

    All that means is it worked for the corporate programming directors at Clear Channel. That song was the last straw for me as far as mainstream country radio is concerned. I couldn’t stand hearing her scream her way through the final chorus one more time.

  34. northtexas
    September 23, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Then maybe Rick, Stormy, Razor & Rainbow need to start their own radio station. I picture it looking like the one in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” LOL!

  35. Hollerin' Ben
    September 23, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Apparently Darius was faced with a decision, “should I make the record that I want to make, an actual country record, or should I compromise and purposefully record songs that are more poppy to make sure that I get played on the radio”

    I know that we’re supposed to cut new artists slack for being commercial because they don’t have any leverage and a compromised shot at the limelight is (supposedly) better than no shot at all, and ya’know, I understand that. But Rucker could have put out any record he wanted and it would have gotten commercial attention.

    That’s what’s so frustrating. Rucker, Jessica Simpson, and even Jewel, could have recorded stone cold country records that were really amazing and (because of their pop chart success in the past) they would have gotten the shot at the big time that a new artist recording country music never would have.

    But, if the article is to be believed, it just isn’t worth the extra effort to them. Why bother right? No texas two steps or teer in your beer songs? Sad songs and Waltzes aren’t selling this year? No problem, I’ll cut whatever you think it going to make it to radio playlists.

    But what it does do it reveals them all as the carpet-baggers they are. They didn’t come to country because they’ve really fallen in love with country music and just felt that they could do something really important and worthwhile in the genre. They came to country to get a piece of the commercial pie.

    There’s nothing wrong with artists from other genres cutting country records, in fact Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western, Elvis Costello’s Almost Blue, and Leon Russell’s Hank Wilson’s Back are three of my favorite country records of all time, but when these guys show up and aren’t even trying to cut country music it’s pretty frustrating.

    and perhaps what’s worst of all is that they aren’t any worse than the other mainstream artist!

    Man, Bon Jovi, Hootie, Jewel, and Jessica Simpson = mainstream country music in 2008. What a freakin’ drag, man. Is there any other genre of music that’s more self-loathing?

  36. Matt B.
    September 23, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Razor,

    There are MORE corporate radio stations than just Clear Channel. I believe CBS and Cumulus actually have more country stations than Clear Channel nowadays.

  37. Razor X
    September 23, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    “Then maybe Rick, Stormy, Razor & Rainbow need to start their own radio station. I picture it looking like the one in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” LOL!”

    More importantly, it would SOUND like the one in the film — or at least a lot closer to it than the dreck that is played on Clear Channel — and Cumulus and CBS.

  38. Matt B.
    September 23, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Razor,

    It’d probably sound something like this:

    http://www.roughstock.com/audio/dailey-vincent-poor-boy-workin-blues-(audio)

  39. Stormy
    September 23, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    northtexas
    September 23, 2008 at 2:19 pm Permalink Then maybe Rick, Stormy, Razor & Rainbow need to start their own radio station. I picture it looking like the one in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” LOL!

    I have two country stations I can listen to and hear the good stuff without the crap. And one of the local mainstream country stations has recently moved to “The Roadhouse” which is all Texas/Americana music in the evenings.

  40. northtexas
    September 23, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Here in the Dallas area whenever I need a break from Rick’s “Airhead Radio” I listen to 95.9 “The Ranch”…they are low power but you can listen online.
    http://www.959theranch.com/

    Bet even Razor would approve of this station.

  41. Razor X
    September 23, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    “It’d probably sound something like this:

    http://www.roughstock.com/audio/dailey-vincent-poor-boy-workin-blues-(audio)

    All I’m getting is Page Not Found.

  42. Razor X
    September 23, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    “Here in the Dallas area whenever I need a break from Rick’s “Airhead Radio” I listen to 95.9 “The Ranch”

  43. Double-L
    September 24, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    I really dig this album, especially “ALL I WANT” and “HISTORY IN THE MAKING”. His voice is rich, mature and unique…. and I’m happy to have him on our air!!!

  44. country music
    September 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Darius has his work cut out for him in country one success makes not a career but lets give him a chance and see what happens, charly pride wasnt a hit over nite

  45. Stormy
    September 28, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    The only thing Darius has in common with Charley is skin color, so can we not drag Charley into every discussion os Darius.

  46. Noah
    October 2, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    While I’ll admit that this debut album falls somewhat short of what I was hoping to hear from Darius Rucker, ultimately I think the success of his debut album could only prove to be a good thing; a springboard for more promising material down the road.

    If anything, we should be delighted that such an extraordinary voice like Rucker’s has enjoyed a resurgence in commercial relevance, where he so easily could have remained an also-ran just because he was the frontman of a much-mocked band following the “Cracked Rear View” era. He may not have gotten to make his ideal album, and likely will continue not to be able to, on Capitol Nashville, but triumphantly roaring back with a #1 single and #1 country album proves, more than anything, that he can still not merely carry, but move, a wide format, and Rucker re-confirming that will likely allow other producers to seek him out later on down the line and offer him more artistic freedom and breathing space so he can more genuinely tap his inner-Vern Gosdin, Dwight Yoakam and Radney Foster.

    Brady is correct that “Learn To Live” doesn’t do Rucker’s vocal capabilities justice, and emotion tends to take the backseat on too many numbers. There’s no doubt his voice sounds perfectly natural and non-calculative in a country setting; it’s just even some of his records with Hootie & The Blowfish showcase his vocal strengths better, particularly tracks like “Old Man & Me (When I Get To Heaven)” and “Not Even The Trees”.

    Having said that, I think the songwriting is stronger here overall than on any Hootie record. I noticed on “Cracked Rear View” that Darius tended to toss a lot of references to other songwriters in his songs, with the most obvious example being Bob Dylan in “Only Wanna Be With You”, where virtually the entire second verse and part of the chorus were Dylan lyrics taken almost word for word. Then you have Michael Stipe of R.E.M. referenced in “Let Her Cry”, and Nanci Griffith in “Drowning”, so it sounded like Rucker was trying to write some good songs, but ultimately drawed way too heavily on his idols. Here, all in all, I feel his writing/co-writing capacities have been finessed and sharpened, although there are some filler cuts here, particularly “Alright”, which draws on the tired, old “This may not be the French Riviera, but this life is good!” notion, and “History In The Making”. Even so, I think “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” is superior to most of Hootie’s songs lyrically (excluding “Old Man & Me”) with “Be Wary Of A Woman” also a standout.

    “Learn To Live” leaves a little to be desired, but I think Rucker has done well enough for a debut and, proving he’s still relevant, I think can only produce better material from here on out.

  47. Country Music Fan
    October 14, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Having just listend to the whole album I totally agree with everyone that Darius really did not do himself teh justice we all know he can do with his voice. That said i still enjoyed his album very much and I know alot of country fans and “Hootie and the Blowfish” fans will like it alot also

  48. Flug Südafrika
    November 5, 2008 at 6:01 am

    I liked the album “Learn to live” especially Track one ” Forever Road” and found it the best country album i ‘v ever heard.Darius Rucker is so talented and has a great voice.

  49. Noah Eaton
    February 5, 2009 at 1:17 am

    I certainly hope “All I Want” is released as the third single in a couple of months.

    I think we can all but certainly expect the title track to be one of the subsequent releases. But the longer Capitol Nashville delays releasing one of his more up-tempo tracks, the more problematic it will prove to be in the long run for Rucker to establish himself as a well-rounded country performer, and not risk being depicted solely as a dewy-eyed crooner, which would be a shame given I think his vocals are most robust on the shuffles.

    It would be awkward having “Learn To Live” be released next anyway, because while it’s certainly not a ballad structurally and very much an up-tempo middle-of-the-road conventional country-pop ditty, lyrically it will appeal to those who appreciated “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” because it hints at growing up and ever more appreciating what we often take for granted in life………only this time from our elders instead of our children, our parenting experiences. As dull as that song is musically, I think it will inevitably be released, and if another one or two subsequent singles chart well, my bet is “I Hope They Get To Me In Time” would be released as a fifth and final single.

  50. Zach
    February 5, 2009 at 8:58 am

    “All I Want” will be the next single. Darius announced it at his concert last weekend in Omaha.

  51. Noah Eaton
    February 18, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    That’s wonderful news. That track certainly gets a “Thumbs Up” from me, as it is the closest Rucker gets to tapping into traditional country on “Learn To Live” and his vocals are in top form there, even when the song is nothing groundbreaking on a lyrical level.

  52. Garten
    February 20, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    To say Darius Rucker is new to country would be a slight, he grew up in the South and has cut his share of country tinged material, just take a listen to Scattered, Smothered and Covered to hear Rucker’s excellent baritone in full bloom — the guy can sing. And it is a wonderful thing to know that the material stands up to his earnest delivery.

    Rucker approached the material by gathering a gaggle of current country mainstays to lend their talents, Brad Paisley’s paw prints are all over, “All I Want” and that’s a good thing. “Forever Road” carries the same weight of a great chorus (that you can sing along with) and a catchy hook that could get a bite from a fish without bait. But the stomper goes to “Drinkin’ and Dialin’.”

    The ballads are the selling point here, Rucker’s voice sells them. Rightfully so, he’s clear in the mix, he sounds sincere on songs such as “History in the Making,” and “Don’t Think I Don’t Know.” A standout track is the contemplative “If I Had Wings,” it could have been too cloying, too schmaltzy, but Rucker’s voice won’t allow it to be, but credit also belongs to Vince Gill and Alison Krauss for their amazing backing vocals.

    An excellent pop-country disc that will get its share of radio play, and rightfully so.

  53. kody
    March 3, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I dont care what anybody says… darius Rucker is awesome! excellent sound and sweet songs. Naturally country!

  54. Gummistiefel
    June 4, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Darius Rucker’s leap into country music is not a move without precedent for the Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer, as his band was loosely rooted in country-ish roots rock. Nevertheless, a more important antecedent for Learn to Live is a 2005 Burger King commercial where Rucker was decked out in a Nudie suit while singing a spin on “Big Rock Candy Mountain.” It was the unveiling of Rucker the country singer, and caused enough of a sensation to make a country album seem like a feasible move. As slight as the commercial was, it provided a stronger musical foundation than the urban R&B behind his 2002 solo debut Back to Then did, as Rucker showed no inclination toward modern soul in Hootie, whereas Learn to Live appeals directly to the frat boys and sports fanatics that made Cracked Rear View perhaps the most inexplicable multi-platinum hit of the ’90s. Like those songs, the tunes on Learn to Live are big and simple, powered by obvious hooks delivered plainly — and truth be told, apart from the 2-step shuffle of “All I Want,” the loping modern country of “Alright,” and the slow pace of the clever barroom crawl “Drinkin’ and Dialin’,” they don’t feel especially country, either.

  55. Strompreise
    August 18, 2009 at 7:33 am

    By the way, you can get the lyrics from him on metrolyrics-com ! I just checked it out. Thanks for the review and best regards from Germany, Marco

  56. Fundgrube
    August 20, 2009 at 3:57 am

    hey Marco, thanx for this info, I was just looking for this!

  57. xtc-templates
    August 24, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Not bad overall, hopefully I like it more as I go through it a few more times. Thanks Marco, for this awesome tip about Darius Rucker.

  58. MrsSam
    September 22, 2009 at 8:50 am

    People! After you finish trashing Mr. Rucker for not having the greatest country album in the universe ever, think about this. It is what it is, love it or hate it – buy it, don’t buy it. Poor guy is swimming upstream enough as a Black man who said “hey, I want to do a country album”. Garten is right. Mr. Rucker is southern and despite what all told him, he always wanted to do country music. This is where his heart is folks, and isn’t that what country music is about – the heart? Let him do what country is to him (or what he was able to do record deal wise) and perhaps he will improve enough for you country experts out there. Mr. Rucker is on to something, leave him be!

  59. stormy
    September 22, 2009 at 9:23 am

    I have one Hootie and the Blowfish album to prove that Hootie has not always wanted to do country badly enough to actually do it.

  60. Etikettendrucker
    November 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Just heard some tracks, great sound.

  61. Angelreisen
    December 23, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Awesome sound, I like the songs. Keep on.

  62. vergleichstrom
    January 5, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Realy great sound! very good tracks!

  63. Versicherungsblog
    February 12, 2010 at 8:06 am

    I like good ear candy ;-)

  64. Bild Geschenk
    May 16, 2010 at 4:15 am

    old but very good music.

  65. Hasan Aksoy
    May 16, 2010 at 4:32 am

    great sound!

  66. Cynthia
    May 8, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Yes. I agree completely. He should be better than this.

  67. Nico
    July 10, 2011 at 11:34 am

    One of the best albums of the last years. I really love Darius Rucker and his music.

Tagged In This Article

Current Discussion

  • bob: Enjoyed the articles on the story behind "When She Cries" and the dearth of women on Canadian Country radio. Thanks. …
  • Saving Country Music: Everything that came out in Friday's assessment of Studio 'A' by the developer was stuff we already knew. The only …
  • bob: Thanks Barry. Just reserved the Adam Gussow book. Sounds interesting.
  • Barry Mazor: It may be over-stated, in arriving at practically a single explanation of everything, but Adam Gussow's book on lynching and …
  • Leeann: Wow! Heavy topic and horrifying indeed! "Beer for My Horses" was all fun and games until that reference, I'll have …
  • Barry Mazor: Everything else aside, the way that reporter fills us in, with must-have, pointless generational snark included, about who this "Little …
  • luckyoldsun: "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia" seems to be about a lynching--even if there's something about a judge …
  • Arlene: Sorry. I meant to give the link for "Supper Time." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ58Kfe41kI
  • Arlene: Another song sung by Ethel Waters: Irving Berlin's "Supper Time"
  • bob: Powerful songs. I read the book "A Lynching in the Heartland" by James H. Madison about a dozen years ago. …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton
  • sturgillsimpsonmetamodern
  • raypricebeautyis
  • rodneycrowelltarpapersky