Saturday, December 18, 2010

Darius Rucker, "This"

Call it soccer mom music.  Call it sippy cup country.  Whatever you call it, it's becoming progressively more bland and less bearable.  Lonestar first began pioneering the movement in the late nineties, and has since passed the torch on to Rodney Atkins and Darius Rucker.  The increasing prevalence of these "Family-life-is-awesome" songs is yet another reflection of country radio's aim to remain as widely-appealing and inoffensive as possible

Songs about family life are nothing new.  Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn were singing them back in the sixties and seventies.  But the important difference is that those artists sang from their own unique perspectives, and each dealt with the theme in a way that brought something new to the table.  What exactly is Darius bringing to the table here?  A melody lifted right out of the Hootie and the Blowfish songbook?  A set of lyrics that borrows the "Bless the Broken Road" concept, and swaps in stale throwaway lyrics?  Even the song's theme of domestic bliss feels like a retread of Darius's previous hit "Alright," which covered many similar bases.

The biggest frustration is that we see one of today's most distinctive country voices once again being spent on the most cheap and generic radio-chasing material.  Darius has talent, and he has a whole heck of a lot of it, but a third-rate tune like "This" doesn't come close to showcasing his awesome potential.  But by now we should be accustomed to the fact that Darius reliably settles for mediocre and radio-friendly material, so really "This" is only the latest in a long series of missed opportunities.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)