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Back to Then

Darius Rucker

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Album Review

The rocky road Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer Darius Rucker took to the release of his first solo album, Back to Then, may have its origin in his band's declining fortunes after the spectacular success of its major-label debut, Cracked Rear View, in the mid-'90s. Follow-ups Fairweather Johnson and Musical Chairs traced a downward sales pattern, and by 2001 Atlantic Records may have been looking to Rucker to reignite his career as a pop/rock singer with his solo debut. But when executives heard an early version of it, they reacted by handing it back to him and letting him negotiate with other labels. Neo-soul boutique label Hidden Beach, whose signee Jill Scott has a duet with Rucker on the record, was a logical home instead, and, slightly retooled, Back to Then comes across as an appropriate addition to the company's pop-soul catalog. Working with various urban musician/producers, Rucker has constructed his own version of a neo-soul album, touching upon elements of gritty soul and gospel but filtering them through his pop/rock sensibility. The result may be as commercially dicey as Atlantic feared: The album may be rejected by both the urban audience at whom it is aimed and by the pop/rock fans Rucker found with Hootie. As urban goes, it may be considered too clean and well-articulated, while its light funk and programming do not provide the surface pleasures of rock. But Rucker remains an expressive singer, and that is the key to the disc's appeal. Whether he is proclaiming his faith in God ("Somewhere") or pleading for romantic fulfillment ("One More Night"), he displays a contemporary soulfulness that compels the listener. Back to Then is not an ideal showcase for that voice, but it is a good one, and it may earn the singer a whole new audience.

Customer Reviews

Don't be misled

"Too clean?" "Too articulate?" - what kind of code words are we using here? This album is fabulous. Rucker's singing is intelligent and searching at the same time. The musicianship is of the highest caliber. And the lyrics actually say something. If the market isn't looking for this, then that's a shame.

One Of The Best Album and Solo Artist

I Love this Album!!! Every song is written like a story with true Feeling and Emotion. The album comes alive when Darius sings his Heart and Soul in every song. You can Hear and Feel Darius true Gift from GOD in His Voice. You want to play the Album over and over. Buy the Whole Album.

Back to Then is NICE!

Purchased this early 05 and never listened to it. Caught the song Back to Then while on shuffle and can't take it off repeat. His sound is still there, more melodies, voice still strong!! He reminds me of Corey Glover (Living Colour) on I'm Glad You're Mine.

Biography

Born: May 13, 1966 in Charleston, SC

Genre: Country

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

As the frontman of Hootie & the Blowfish, Darius Rucker was one of the most popular frontmen in mainstream pop/rock during the mid-'90s. The band's debut album, Cracked Rear View, was virtually inescapable in 1995, eventually selling more than 16 million copies and becoming one of the most successful albums of all time. Hootie & the Blowfish couldn't re-create that magic on future albums, though, and the band took a break from the studio after releasing...
Full Bio

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