Darius, Adele, and a plug for Mr. Rucker’s voice

This week Darius Rucker posted a video to his Facebook feed of his duet with Adele to commemorate her big night at the Grammys.  The song they performed together was a cover of “Need You Now” from the country group Lady Antebellum.  I wanted to share the video because, while I enjoyed the original song, it highlights just how talented Darius and Adele truly are. Their voices are so amazing and, in my opinion, are two of the best vocalists in music we’ve ever had.  Here’s the video:

I also wanted to put another plug in for Darius.  Not that I think any less of Adele, she is literally the greatest pure singer alive today, but I don’t feel Darius ever fully gets the credit he deserves for his vocal chops.  His voice is so unique and soulful that pretty much anything he sings will sound good…and if it happens to be a decent song, WOW!

As many of you know, Darius made it big as the lead singer for Hootie & The Blowfish.  Their first album, especially their first song “Hold My Hand“, was all over the radio.  In fact I believe that radio is ultimately what killed Hootie; they were played SO MUCH that it became impossible to get away from their music.  It led to a bit of a backlash.  Even I, a big Hootie fan, had to leave my cassette tape (yes, this makes me sound old) out of the car because there wasn’t a need for it…they’d be on three radio stations at a time.  However much they were played, the fact of how good they were – and more specifically how good Darius Rucker’s voice was – seemed to get lost as the 90s progressed.  It also didn’t help that their second album was really bad; poor songs, rushed work, just not good.  Their later albums were better, but by this point everyone had moved on.

Darius put out a solo album in 2002 titled “Back To Then” which is my favorite of all of his solo albums.  I loved it because it was an R&B album that was right in his wheelhouse.  One of the songs, “This Is My World“, was featured in the movie Shallow Hal starring Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow.  Unfortunately, the masses didn’t agree with me on this one.  I’m not sure if they were still in Hootie withdrawal or what, but it never got the airplay it deserved and has now become a footnote in his career – stamped between Hootie and his resurgence as a solo country artist.  In fact, my wife and I saw him in concert a couple years ago and he played his new country songs and old Hootie songs, but nothing off of this album.  Here is “This Is My World”, my favorite track off of his R&B album:

Now, Darius is a successful country singer.  He’s had several solid albums and, while I’m not a huge fan of much of today’s Country Music, Darius stands out because of that amazing, unique, and soulful voice.  Personally, I feel he is limited in the country genre because of the inherent cookie-cutter nature of the genre’s songs.  I’ve always said, if you got a good voice and don’t want to worry about writing your own music or lyrics, you’ll have a place in Nashville.  Apologies to die-hard country fans, but you can’t deny that the genre isn’t necessarily known for its cutting edge music originality…it’s known for its amazing voices/singers.  Don’t get me wrong, I like true country music, mostly older stuff…I’m just not a fan of the bro-country brand that monopolizes most of country radio today.  Which…ta da…brings me back to my point of Darius – his voice is so good, you can overlook the insane simplicity to many of his country songs.  So go on, treat yourself to some Darius today…and of course Adele as well…always Adele.

Signed, Mark Majors, self-proclaimed, music snob! 🙂

New Release: Adele – “25”

Last Friday, Adele released her highly anticipated new album, “25”. It is, as most of us had hoped (and predicted) an amazing piece of work. Her first single “Hello” dropped a few weeks ago, with an accompanying video, and almost broke the Internet. The physical CD is being sold at rates not seen since the N*SYNC levels of 2000. That was 15 years ago, when people actually bought CDs…and she’s still beating those numbers. In short, to say she’s breaking records with her new album is, in itself, a broken record.


Now for the most important question, is it any good? Yes, it’s phenomenally good. It is a matured version of her last album “21” with the raw sound of the past now replaced with more finely produced tracks. The album is SO good, there is nothing on the market today to compare it to. Adele has now cemented herself as the best active solo artist on the planet.

My only issue on the whole album is with the song “When We Were Young”. It’s a great song, and my issue is that it had the potential to be Adele’s greatest song ever. This song’s potential, in my opinion, was on course for a once in a lifetime song…but there is this very awkward section that ends the chorus with “let me photograph you in this light/in case it is the last time/that we might be exactly like we were/before we realized/we were sad of getting old/it made us restless” and I keep thinking, WHY IS THIS HERE??? It’s completely out of place, in fact, it doesn’t belong. This song is flying so high and then “plop” this forced sounding piece is added to this beautiful song. I’ve listened to this song over and over and over and I just don’t get it, why is this needed. Anyhow, even with this piece, the song is still great, I’m just disappointed because it feels like you are about to hear something out of this world. I’d love to know your opinions on this part and if you think I’m on to something or if I’ve missed the mark on this one.

Overall, the album is wonderful, 10 out of 10, and the only question is how does it compare to “21”. I believe “21” had Adele’s best song ever with “Rolling in the Deep”, but overall I believe I’d have to give “25” a slight advantage in being the better album. Either way, you should have all of Adele’s music and take pleasure in listening to some of the best music ever made.

Make sure to let me know your thoughts on the new album in the comments below.  Also, stay up to date with the blog by subscribing above.