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Musical Chairs

Hootie & The Blowfish

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Album Review

Although Hootie & the Blowfish delivered a fine second album, they had no hope of matching the phenomenal success of their debut, Cracked Rear View, so Fairweather Johnson was perceived as a flop, even though it moved over two million copies. In a way, that perception of failure was the best thing that could have happened to the band. With the spotlight being shone somewhere else (Alanis Morissette, to be exact), Hootie & the Blowfish could return to what they loved best — playing music and being in a band. Musical Chairs, the group's third album, illustrates what a blessing it was for the group. Despite a couple of production flourishes, such as the occasional horn section and strings, it's no breakthrough or stylistic departure — it's simply a well-made album, filled with catchy tunes. In other words, it's exactly like their first two records, but the performances are more kinetic and fun than on Fairweather Johnson, and the songs are arguably as consistent as those on Cracked Rear View. That's why Musical Chairs feels a bit like a comeback, but it really shouldn't be viewed that way — it's just a consolidation of their talents and further proof that Hootie & the Blowfish are a fine mainstream pop/rock band.

Biography

Formed: 1989 in Columbia, SC

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

For a short time, Hootie & the Blowfish was the most popular band in America. Grunge music ruled the airwaves during the mid-'90s, but Hootie played a mainstream pop variation of blues-rock, and their easy-going sound netted them a string of Top 40 hits. Formed at the University of South Carolina, the group featured lead vocalist/guitarist Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Dean Felber, and Jim "Soni" Sonefeld, and the band's name referred to two mutual friends (not Rucker and the group itself). Cracked...
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Musical Chairs, Hootie & The Blowfish
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