Oh, did you not know that Darius Rucker made an R&B record? He sure did. I don’t think Hootie was officially kaput yet, but I guess Darius wanted to spread his wings a little bit, so he signed a solo deal with Hidden Beach Records, best known as the home of Jill Scott. 2003’s Back To Then places the pop/rock singer into a neo-soul musical context, and the results are a bit awkward. The album has a couple of gems, though, with “Exodus” being chief among them.
“Exodus” is a simple offer of comfort from one lover to another. The lyrics are beautiful.
“When it pours/and you’re in deep water/and you can’t tell the difference between the rain and your tears/I will be the one who’s there/who’ll always be there/to drink the river flowing from your eyes”.
Definitely a “shoulda been a hit” song. Also, the background vocalists are two guys who are talented on their own (and will both show up later on this list); Musiq Soulchild and Kenna.
NOT QUITE FIVE STARS
“Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” by Whitney Houston (1995): I feel extra guilty for knocking this down half a star in light of having just seen the Whitney documentary, but “Exhale” isn’t much of a song. Nippy sings the shit out of it, though, giving it one of her most understated vocal performances. If she swung for the fences with her earlier work, “Exhale” was one of the first songs to explore a lower-volume maturity in her singing.