Hootie and the Blowfish, "Hold My Hand"

My very first hipster moment: I was in to Hootie a month or two before they started to blow up. It was, and remains, fashionable to dislike them, what with the terrible name and a year of suffocating ubiquity. That Cracked Rear View can't withstand this level of scrutiny is not surprising. Almost no album can, and the rare examples are easily named since there are two: Rumors and Nevermind. Even with these, their follows ups were widely regarded as disappointing--as failures--despite maintaining the creative level. Being famous is difficult.

Leave aside the very 90s combination of mawkish sincerity and ironic detachment from same that fueled their popularity and its backlash. What remains is an ambitious album by a bar band, whose references and influences are impeccable: "Let Her Cry" namechecks Michael Stipe; the guitarist would frequently wear R.E.M. t-shirts; the album ends with a snippet of "Motherless Child." They invested no small part of their popularity in an attempt to get the Stars and Bars taken off the South Carolina state flag ("tired of hearing this shit about 'heritage not hate'" plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, amirite?). They took an endless amount of flack for borrowing some of the lyrics from Dylan's "Tangled Up In Blue" for "Only Wanna Be With You," but who these days is so hung up on authenticity that stealing from Dylan would be considered a bad thing?

No comments: