Darius Rucker – “Come Back Song”
Last November, Darius Rucker made history when he received the CMA Award for New Artist of the Year, the first win for a black artist since Charley Pride’s three victories in the early 1970s.
Such a big achievement does carry a small asterisk. As frontman of ’90s pop-rock behemoth Hootie & the Blowfish, Rucker won a pair of Grammys as part of a hot streak that ended sixteen million albums later.
In an act of deference to the current country marketplace, he shelved the hard-country shuffles and mournful ballads that he planned to record in favor of clean, contemporary sounds more suited for endless radio play. Learn to Live, his platinum-selling solo debut, spawned four hit singles and set up Rucker as one of the hot properties in Nashville. The introduction to his second full-length release, due later this year, suggests he’ll likely savor another milestone or two.
“Come Back Song” is a custom-made Music Row production that’s as ordinary as the songs that surround it on the airwaves. Rucker plays the familiar role of a mildly-depressed man whose foolish ways have turned off his sweetheart. This lost romance is causing him such distress that he spills out his heart in a sing-along ditty. “Song” is a hollow-feeling effort with a set of lyrics that strain to be clever: “You’re on the feel good side of leaving/And I’m the backside of a mule.”
As usual, Rucker delivers an effortless performance that solidifies his place as one of the genre’s finest singers. His sense of phrasing is impeccable, and his ragged vocals convey a rich emotion that few voices can match. The laidback, largely-acoustic groove of “Song” is cool, appealing background noise as we sweat out the dog days of summer. But once Rucker sings his last “na-na”‘s at the end, this weightless track has barely made a dent in your memory.
- Barry Mazor: I'll have to see if Dr. Green's ever read 3 Lives; it's a good book.
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- Barry Mazor: Pigeons on the grass, alas.. Come-a kai-yai yippy, yippy ay.
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