By T.J. TranchellNo one in my immediate family owned a CD until 1995. I know because I didn’t get a stereo with a CD player until that summer. That same year, I saw Hootie and the Blowfish in concert.
I spent years denying Hootie, ignoring lead singer Darius Rucker’s transformation from a sort-of rocking front man into a solo country star, pretending I didn’t like a single song from “Cracked Rear View.”
It is time to end the lie.
Rucker’s voice is a less antagonistic version of Adam Duritz from Counting Crows. I always had the feeling Duritz didn’t care if you listened or not, whereas Rucker invited as many listeners as possible.
That invitation enticed millions and, honestly, was part of the reason I pushed Hootie and the Blowfish to the wayside in favor of darker, harsher and far less mainstream music. I started buying CDs not long
after my sister and I collectively purchased “Cracked Rear View” on cassette. She and I, along with our mom and her boyfriend, made the journey to Park City, Utah, to see the band. We listened to the tape repeatedly: “Hold My Hand,” “Let Her Cry,” and “I Only Wanna Be With You” rang through the speakers of the red 1988 Yugo we had at the time like gold dust being sprinkled on asphalt.
I haven’t purposefully listened to these songs in two decades, but recently they keep popping up like mellow memories of someone else’s life.
It is Rucker’s fault. His cover of “Wagon Wheel,” a song that saw good use as a bedtime tune for my son, is more gold raining down from someone’s idea of musical heaven. I didn’t recognize Rucker’s voice the first time I heard the song, and now it is all I hear.
I’m OK with that now. I can get back to a place where I can listen to Hootie and the Blowfish and just enjoy it, not worry about how their first album was one of the last cassettes I ever bought.
And you know what? It’s OK for you to like Hootie and the Blowfish, too. Let’s get over ourselves and admit that there is music that snobs and hipsters might tell us we shouldn’t like but we do anyway.
You still blast “Oops, I Did it Again” on your stereo? Good for you. Know all the words to “Funk Town”? Bring it on. And you over there, yeah you in the mirror, there’s no shame in doing the bop to MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.”
Somewhere a Nickleback fan is waving their flag, saying “What about me?” That’s great, but you might want to keep it to yourself.
Tranchell is a journalism adviser at the University of Idaho. He enjoys a variety of music, excluding Nickleback and Celine Dion. John Denver is great. What music have you hid from yourself that you need to revisit? Let’s talk: firstname.lastname@example.org.