Hootie & the Blowfish's debut album, Cracked Rear View, was the success story of 1994/1995, selling over 12 million copies. It's a startling, large number, especially for a new band, but in some ways, the success of the record isn't that surprising. Although Hootie & the Blowfish aren't innovative, they deliver the goods, turning out an album of solid, rootsy folk-rock songs that have simple, powerful hooks. "Hold My Hand" has a singalong chorus that epitomizes the band's good-times vibes. None of the tracks transcend their generic status, but they are strong songs for their genre, with crisp chords and bright melodies. Still, the songs wouldn't be convincing without the emotive vocals of Darius Rucker, whose gruff baritone has more grit than the actual songs. At their core, Hootie & the Blowfish are a bar band, but they managed to convince millions of listeners that they were the local bar band, and that's why Cracked Rear View was a major success.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine