Review: Darius Rucker, “History in the Making”

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October 13, 2009

RuckerI have a weakness for songs that mix in elements of fate, particularly love songs. Like no other genre, the best country music has the ability to make me not only believe in but feel invested in the journey of a man and woman.

But to make this type of song effective, an artist has to deliver a touching if not stirring melody, one that has enough distinction to match the message. On the contrary, while “History in the Making” describes what could be a once-in-a-lifetime moment, the melody and production feel a dime a dozen. It’s the kind of character-less, movie soundtrack song you’ve heard before in various forms, in various genres. Even with a line as loaded as “What if this was that moment, that chance worth takin’?”, the booming chorus doesn’t feel powerful so much as it feels forced.

Rucker’s vocal performance is infectious as usual – but in this case, neither his vocals nor the sweet theme is enough to elevate “History in the Making” from lackluster to good.

Written by Clay Mills, Frank Rogers & Darius Rucker

Grade: C+

Listen: History in the Making

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  1. ThomasNo Gravatar says:

    …pleasantly forgettable.

  2. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Agreed. That’s kind of what I’m finding with all of Rucker’s songs at this point. They’re okay, his voice is good, but they’re pretty forgettable in the end.

  3. KNo Gravatar says:

    I know a few Hootie songs, but I wasn’t even born when they were big. That being said, I love that Darius chose to become a country singer for several reasons. Unlike Jewel, Simpson and Kid Rock he stuck around in the genre without quitting before he coukd nake a quick buck. He has a great emotive voice, and I think he is the best “new” male artist the genre has seen in a long time.

    I do agree that his songs are forgettable, but I think he can afford for that to happen, seeing that he has already established a solid name for himself, along with millions he made with Hootie.

  4. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    K,
    I don’t understand your comparison with Jewel or Kid Rock. Darius was successful in country music pretty much right out of the gate. So, he’s never had the opportunity to “quit before making a big buck.”

  5. KNo Gravatar says:

    K,
    “I don’t understand your comparison with Jewel or Kid Rock. Darius was successful in country music pretty much right out of the gate. So, he’s never had the opportunity to “quit before making a big buck.”

    True, but artists can have one flop single and try to see if they will catch on with radio. Look at Josh Gracin as an example; he had a label deal for four years and avoided getting dropped for a pretty long time considering he never had huge radio singles or albums. Shedaisy stiill has a label deal and their records don’t even go gold. Phil Vassar, Eli Young Band and even artists like Leann Rimes and Jessica Andrews are still making records among non-existent radio play and dismal sales.

    I realize some of these artists are not “new,” but the prinicipal remains the same. Whether you are a multiplatinum superstar or a new artist doesn’t matter; it matters that your label and artist made an effort to at least give the “career” a try without just walking away.

    The “careers” both Simpson and Jewel tried in country didn’t work and they chose to walk away. Seems like desperation rather than failure to me.

  6. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Okay, but how does Darius rate better than them along those lines though? There’s no guarantee that he wouldn’t have done the same thing if his album and singles hadn’t been almost instant successes for him. Of course, I couldn’t say that he wouldn’t have pressed on either. I just don’t know, which is why I wondered about you saying: “Unlike Jewel, Simpson and Kid Rock he stuck around in the genre without quitting before he coukd nake a quick buck” which implies that he is more sincere than them.

    Has Jewel walked away from country music, by the way? I haven’t heard much either way, but I heard that she’s doing some touring with Ashley Monroe who is definitely country.

  7. chesnuttisoverratedNo Gravatar says:

    I can’t agree with K’s point, which seems to be that the fact that some artists “walk away” from country at the first sign of failure (Jewel, Simpson) somehow reflects badly upon them.

    Why is that? Why does that “seem like desperation..” Perhaps its just plain intelligence: If Simpson and Jewel couldn’t do well the first time, well, maybe they had little reason to suspect that they could do well a second time. Trying something new, outside of country, then seems to be a wise choice.

    Considering her poor reception at country radio, I would say that it is probably wise of Jessica Simpson to look elsewhere in the entertainment world. For her to do so does not obviously suggest insincerity or desperation or what not to me.

    Are we really to expect her to give up potentially lucrative opportunities in the non-country world just so she can make another country album that will also probably bomb in some sort of effort to show that she “sincerely” cares about country and isn’t in it for a “quick buck?” Somehow I doubt that those who complain that Simpson is “insincere” would rush out and buy her music even if it could be proven that she does have a sincere love of country music.

    If anything, perhaps what distinguishes Simpson and Jewel from the acts K mentions that do “stick around” (SheDaisy, Phil Vassar, Jessica Andrews) is that Simpson and Jewel conceivably could find success in other areas of the entertainment world, while these other acts might have a harder time finding success. Perhaps, then, the only reason Andrews and Vassar aren’t leaving country for greener pastures as entertainers elsewhere is because they can’t. Simpson, however, can, and that may be why she is.

    (Finally, I suspect that some of the people who mocked Simpson for trying to enter the country world are the same people who are going to mock her for leaving that world: Simpson simply can’t win with these listeners and I see little reason for her to try).

  8. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    I think Jewel tweeted a while back that her next album will be country-marketed again, so she appears to be giving it a real shot. Hopefully her music will follow suit.

    I wouldn’t really have a problem with Jessica Simpson ‘trying on’ country music if she hadn’t proclaimed that she intended to record it forever. Walking away after saying that does make it seem like it was just a quick cash-grab that didn’t work out.

  9. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I haven’t been following Simpson, but do we know for sure that she’s walked away? I know the country record company, in essence, dropped her. But was it entirely her choice? I’m certainly not meaning to defend her though, since her music was certainly poor. I just don’t think that Rucker necessarily deserves any more or less credit than the others. It worked out very well for him, so we’ll never know what he might have done if his first attempt had been as unsuccessful than the other cited examples.

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