Leading off IHAE’s new category called Not Guilty Pleasures is none other than 1994’s Cracked Rear View by Hootie & The Blowfish. I love this album, and I feel no guilt whatsoever about that. I’m not embarrassed, ashamed or afraid to admit it. In fact, I say it with pride. That’s what Not Guilty Pleasures is all about.

There are no singular events or moments in my life connected to Cracked Rear View, or Hootie & The Blowfish for that matter. Memories or life events are often connected to albums I like, including those that might fit into the Not Guilty Pleasure category but not this one. I just love this album. It’s a great fuckin’ album. Period.

From day one, Cracked Rear View was an album I could just put into the CD player, play in the background and sing along to all while doing something else. The songs somehow float in my mind, occupying just enough brain power to sing along to, but not enough to distract me from doing something else in the process like read a book, a camera manual and so on.

The songs are well crafted, light with catchy lyrics and melody and sung brilliantly by Darius Rucker who has a gravely yet warm voice that fits these songs perfectly. The hits, which you know well if you’re 45 or older have aged well. Let Her Cry, Only Wanna Be With You, Hold My Hand and Time are all terrific. They’re still bright and nearly 30 years later, can still make you sing along.

But the other songs are good too. Goodbye Hannah Jane, the album opener, Drowning and Running From an Angle are all excellent deep cuts worth listening to if you haven’t for a while.

What’s sad about Hootie & The Blowfish is that Cracked Rear View was so good and so big that it somehow turned people off. It sold something like 12 million copies in the couple of years following its release and it became unfairly and stupidly fashionable to bash the band for their success. They didn’t deserve that not only because Cracked Rear View is a terrific album, but also because they went on to make several excellent albums including Music Chairs in 1998, Looking for Lucky in 2005 and Imperfect Circle in 2019. All are worth checking out if you like Cracked Rear View.

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