Darius Rucker, ‘True Believers’ – Album Review
Darius Rucker sings with more energy than a nuclear power plant, but his new album ‘True Believers’ is safer than solar power. He captures the spirit of his live show — one of the best in the business — on each of the 12 tracks, but one yearns for for something unique and unexpected.
Sonically speaking, Rucker mixes in a soulful, gospel-tinged sound on songs like ‘Take Me Home,’ while cuts like ‘Lost in You’ and ‘Shine’ open with a sexy guitar groove that’s a throwback to something the Commodores would have cut in the late ’70s. Still, the arrangements are mostly straight-forward continuations of the sound this singer has provided since beginning a solo career in 2008.
Lyrically, ‘True Believers’ doesn’t include a song that will cause one to pull off the road. The title track comes close, but the remainder are upbeat, friendly love songs structured to fit in Rucker’s wheelhouse. ‘Love Without You’ (featuring Sheryl Crow) and ‘I Will Love You Still’ (featuring Mallory Hope) are effective exceptions, but neither drip with hurt and sorrow like the most memorable weepers.
The album is not without highlights, of course. In fact, there are far more shining moments than lumps of coal. His cover of ‘Wagon Wheel’ begins each day better than Folgers, and ‘Miss You’ is a beautiful lyric wrapped in a made-for-radio arrangement. “How can we go all night and not even touch one another / How can we say we’re still in love and not be lovers / How did we get here / Where you can be right there / And I can be with you and miss you,” Rucker sings in his familiar style during the chorus.
The song ‘Radio’ may be the only skip-ahead track (it becomes irritating toward the end), as all are enjoyable on their own. The album suffers from a sonic sameness that stays within Rucker’s comfort zone. Most songs build predictably, ultimately finding the singer passionately pleading with someone while showcasing his big, instantly recognizable voice. There’s a whiff of formula — something every artist should work to stay ahead of. It’s catching up to Rucker on ‘True Believers.’