Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Darius Rucker – Alright

Or, as the kids nowadays would say, “Meh”…


Dan MacRae: A dull contribution to country music’s well-established “local man enjoys life” canon.

Michaelangelo Matos: I’m not surprised I prefer Darius Rucker singing country — he sounds better vulnerable than dude-ish. That change of pitch (and pushing his twang forward a bit) is crucial on this song because it’s basically a Blowfish song wearing tighter, more relaxed denim. I’ll take the Nashville-cat mini-solos over any instrumental flourish I can recall from Rucker’s former bandmates, too. That said, the reason this song about liking the simple (middle-class) life is Hootie redux is that it’s not very good.

Matt Cibula: I’m gonna vote yes on this. The overall theme is not a rare one, the music is not blowing me away, and it all kind of smacks of bragging — oh really, a millionaire pop star is doing okay, wow, great — but the chorus is propulsive and Rucker’s voice is about as great as it’s ever been, which in my opinion is really good even when singing boring stuff. And I like the subtext of “you damned GOP teabaggers better shut up, your life is fine, yr not homeless” etc.

David Raposa: About a half-mile down into the comment section for TSJ’s post about “You Belong With Me,” Chris Herrington of the Memphis Flyer notes, “The idea that this [Taylor Swift song] is the best country song someone’s heard makes me sad, though.” I’d concur with that, to a point — if that same someone had only heard country that sounded like this Darius Rucker joint, I wouldn’t blame them for running to the hills anytime they got within 50 feet of something twangy. Though Rucker’s more than a decade removed from his Hootie heyday, this tune’s noxious combo of production polish & class-conflict strawmen (Dom Perignon vs Patsy Cline FITE!) makes me wish for the earnest & oblivious post-grunge frat-friendly bonhomie of the Blowfish. Add on some truly unnecessary country signifiers and a relentless amiability, and my urge to break stuff goes from 0 to Eat My Fuc after 30 seconds of this. “Alright” sounds like the byproduct of hitting every bullet point in some Country For Dummies to-do checklist, which I guess is one way to get the job done — this is the the THIRD single from a gold-certified album that already has two #1 singles to its credit, so more power to this motherRucker. I won’t begrudge his rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches success, but I will begrudge the ever loving shit out of this awful song.

Anthony Easton: So generic, and so blank, with no emotion, no feeling, and the music done by automatons on their day off from Country Bear Jubilee. I would bet hard currency that this millionaire slumming to resurrect a moribund MOR rock career has never heard of Patsy Cline, or layed on a river looking at the moon.

Chuck Eddy: No shit Sherlock, country’s sort of like the Republican Party in that it wants to pass itself off now as a bigger tent than it actually is. But that says nothing about Darius’s own worth or lack thereof. And the more hits he has, the more I hear his urbane rustic soul tone as a potential turn-of-the-’10s equivalent of, say, 1970 Brook Benton, or Lionel Richie momentarily scoring on the country charts in 1984. Seemed perceptive when Danyel Smith, I think, compared him to Dobie Gray in Vibe back in Hootie days, and his voice has grown toastier and more humble since, partly by freeing itself of Vedder bloat. All he really needs now is his own “Rainy Night In Georgia” or “Stuck On You” or “Drift Away,” but I haven’t minded the three country hits he’s racked up so far. The one that touched me most was “It Won’t Be Like This For Long,” about being a baby’s daddy. (I can relate.) I like this latest one least, though I still think it’s neat how he says “Dom Perignon”. Don’t particularly buy that he listens to all that much Patsy Cline, though. (Neither do I, so don’t take that as an insult.)

John M. Cunningham: I like the scene that Rucker sets in the first verse — I’m imagining a nice backyard patio dinner with his wife — but the details sort of devolve into comfortable platitudes, which, twang aside, makes this Hootie: The Married Years.

Hillary Brown: Just a relabeled jar of ick.

Ian Mathers: I’m glad you’re happy with your lot in life, Darius, but if someone offered you free tickets to a ‘concert in the city’ and some five-star reservations, would you pass them up for cheap wine and a Patsy Cline CD? I’m as much of a fan of “Crazy” as anyone, but there’s a difference between contentment and protesting too much, and it’s not as if there’s anything intrinsically wrong with the finer things in life.

Alex Ostroff: Putting aside the suspect use of the Sarah Palin anti-elitism card by multi-platinum Rucker, satisfaction has been done before in country, frequently and better. Lyrically, “Alright” reminds me of Lonestar’s far superior, and far cornier, “Front Porch Lookin’ In”, which at least has some decent imagery. The song is saved from total failure by Rucker’s surprisingly charismatic country vocals, which will hopefully be put to use in the future performing songs that aren’t blatant rewrites of “Our Song” by Taylor Swift.

Martin Skidmore: Perky modern country with touches of rock, sung by someone who sounds like a rock singer doing another genre, but it’s entirely pleasant, in a lame sort of way.

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