Tom Hanks and Hootie are fighting over what it means to define an era
Life is like a box of chocolates ...
“Fuck Tom Hanks!”
That’s from Hootie & the Blowfish’s Darius Rucker. He made it perfectly clear to the New York Times this past June that he’s angry — the band’s album Cracked Rear View isn't mentioned even once in the Tom Hanks produced docuseries The Nineties. It’s a collection that takes 10 years of history and reduces it to a paltry 7 hours of entertainment.
The gaping hole is head scratcher, considering Cracked generated three Top 10 singles, was the best selling U.S. album of 1995, and is still in the top 20 best selling albums of all time.
Rucker should be pissed. His successes and hard work might very well be forgotten in the coming years. In fact, many aging musicians across every genre could be buried soon, no matter how big they were at their prime.
Hootie’s biggest hit is arguably “Only Wanna Be With You” — as bro-y today as it was back then. Even now when it comes on, you can just feel the red Solo cup full of Zima slowly crushing in your hands as the chorus ropes everyone in for the four-millionth time. I ONLY WANNA BE WITH YOUUUU!!! A ‘90s classic even if you hate it.
Yet right now — adding up all YouTube views and Spotify streams — the single has only been listened to about 51 million times digitally (plus whatever Apple Music numbers are, but whatever, Apple’s service is like the Tom Hanks of streaming anyway). Fifty-one million. Chump change.
In contrast, Tay-K’s “The Race” has 173 million views on YouTube alone. Never heard of him? You’re lucky. You’re also not missing much. He’s some dopey-sounding SoundCloud rapper fighting a murder charge in Dallas. That’s his story, a paragraph’s worth. Dude’s a simple flash in the pan that will likely be spending the rest of his better days behind bars for his alleged part in a robbery gone stupid.
One is not like the other.
But let’s be honest, no one is listening to albums. At least, not in the way they used to. There are tens of millions of Cracked CDs out there decaying in musty closets; “The Race” automatically plays for anyone streaming hip-hop because of its high view count. What’s the quickest route between point A and B? Convenience over choice near every time.
Algorithms write the stories for artists now. But for the Hooties of the world, they’re stuck battling Forrest Gump and his 18 other producers who were put to the task and blew it. Stuck between digital and not.
Cracked wasn’t the only snub either. Run through the other installments of the show — The Sixties, The Seventies, The Eighties, The 2000s — they’re a shell of what could be. Gangster rap barely gets a mention. Punk is completely blown by. Metal, post-punk, emo, techno — massive scenes that bred entire cultures left at the back of the fridge where no one looks to grow mold.
To be a fly on the wall in a room with all those old white dudes creating a storyboard of the 2000s and not once bringing up Detroit, Chicago, The Crystal Method, ATB, Roni Size, DJ Rap, Ibiza, AK1200, Felix da Housecat … SANDSTORM!!! What dumbasses.
Hootie’s mistake is that he thinks the music will last. It won’t. Never rely on someone else to do the work for you. Especially if it’s an out-of-touch Hollywood-type. Write your own story. You never know what you’re gonna get.