Context – hammer time
Well, crunch time. Well, busy time. Well… what a time to be alive. Amirite?
Today I dig deep into the dark, dark world of mid-nineties mediocre alternative music. Hootie who? Hootie and the Blowfish, that’s who.
No one in this band is named Hootie, as far as I can tell. So that’s strike 1. Maybe even strike 2. One for lying, and two for leading me to believe someone was awesome enough to call themselves Hootie. Strike 3 comes about 45 seconds into the first song when you realize what this band is about.
Hootie and the Blowfish are like the original Nickleback, before most of us knew how much fun it could be to hate on Nickleback. This band is swimming in unoriginality and mediocrity, and it’s a miracle we let them carry on with it for as long as we did. Hootie is like if you took everything you love about Gin Blossoms (or at least the 3 songs you know about Gin Blossoms) and made it less, everything you love about that guy in Pearl Jam’s voice and made it less, and everything you love about country and made it less. Not enough edge for rock, not enough soul for country, not enough growl for grunge, this album sits in the middle of a Venn Diagram we didn’t know existed.
We all know all the words to “Hold My Hand” and “Only Wanna Be With You”, or at least know enough to bastardize the vocal melody with random syllables. But did you know they have 10 other songs on this album alone that sound just like it? I didn’t, but now I do. Did you know this band also wrote like, 4 other albums? I didn’t, but now I do.
And it’s a real shame because the singer has a voice behind him, but not one that’s being particularly serviced well. Being a second best guy from Pearl Jam still puts you in good company, but it feels so misapplied here. Like if Celine Dion tried her hand in a punk band, or something. Undeniable talent in an undeniably poor choice of background. Wikipedia tells me the singer has since gone solo and is maybe singing straight-up country music now? I may have to give that a go later, that could be interesting.
But talent aside, this style of singing has been forever ruined by Andy from Parks and Recreation, who’s hit song “The Pit” replaces all of the lyrics as soon as I hear this timbre in a voice. Now that I listen back to “The Pit”, the instrumentation is pretty spot on as well. So much chorus on that guitar, god bless ’em.
But Hootie and the Blowfish is not interesting beyond being in the soundtrack for [insert some 90’s nostalgia here]. If you can pull this off at karaoke more power to you, I will mostly likely raise my glass to you and sing sloppily along. But I’ll still mock you in the morning for your piss-poor choice of karaoke song. Sing the Barenaked Ladies or something, gosh.