My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Darius Rucker – ‘I Got Nothin”

The third single release from Charleston, SC 1966 and his seventh solo single overall is Darius Rucker’s most country effort to date; one in which he explores the tried and true theme of a relationship at the breaking point and one man’s desperate last-ditch attempts to salvage it. In the opening lines, we learn that the protagonist and his wife or girlfriend have been up all night talking, and likely shouting and crying as they find themselves at a crossroads. She’s packing her things and is getting ready to leave; he’s trying his best to find the right words to talk her out of it, but he’s coming up short. Well written and nicely produced with just enough fiddle and steel to keep traditional fans happy without alienating mainstream radio, “I Got Nothin'” has all the makings of a hit and in the hands of a more capable vocalist it could be a very good record.

Unfortunately, the glue that should hold the whole thing together — Rucker’s performance — is as inadequate as the main character’s efforts to convince his wife/girlfriend to stay. The lyrics are emotionally charged and worthy of a performance that tears the listener’s heart out — think George Jones singing “The Grand Tour” or Gene Watson singing “Farewell Party”. But Rucker sounds strangely disconnected and plods through the song paint-by-numbers style. At the end of the song we don’t learn whether his lady love stays or goes, but I suspect she leaves just out of sheer boredom. In an environment that demands very little innovation or originality from artists, “I Got Nothin'” will likely garner enough airplay to propel it into the upper realms of the charts, but those of us who can remember a time when we could routinely expect better than this will find little to get excited about.

Written by Darius Rucker and Clay Mills

Grade: B-

7 responses to “Single Review: Darius Rucker – ‘I Got Nothin”

  1. Ben Foster May 20, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I do think this is better than the last two singles Darius has had out, but I agree with what J.R. said about it needing a better hook. But I’ll have to listen to it a few more times before I can make a full case for or against it.

  2. Leeann Ward May 20, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Great review. I think that’s the ultimate problem. I’ve always thought Rucker had a good voice when he was with the Blowfish (though strange it still was), but I always feel like he’s disconnected from his country songs. I doubt that he really is, but it just sounds like it, which makes for a boring listening experience all around. I have not connected with even one of his songs so far and I had high hopes for him when I heard he was going to try country music.

  3. luckyoldsun May 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Darius Rucker is a fine example of the growth that Nashville and the entire country music industry have gone through. After so many mediocre white singers have had number 1 hits with formula crap, it’s great to see that a lousy black singer can now have number 1 hits with by-the-numbers junk. This record is just as brainless as the last five that Rucker put out, so I see no reason at all why it shouldn’t be another number 1 hit. My compliments to Mr. Rucker and his producers and writers.

  4. Lobster Killah May 20, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    I actually enjoy Ruckers stuff, but then again I wasn’t a country fan until about 2 and a half years ago. but I must say there does seem to be an emotional disconnect when he sings many of his country songs, especially this one. I did see him in concert when he was touring with Brad Paisley though, and he seemed to put a lot more emotion into the songs live.

  5. Kerm33 May 22, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I don’t know why everyone is not understanding this song. I love and enjoy listening to this song (I have been playing it since I bought the CD) cause it talks about a part in someone’s life that everyone might have gone though. The song calls for the sing to be a little disconnect because it is a man that is standing there and wants to say something but he just don’t know what he should or needs to say. I know that I have been in that situation and you want to say something but nothing is coming to you and you just stand there staring at the person and have nothing to say. Great song in my opinion.

    • Razor X May 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      I thought about that when I was listening to it — that he’s numb and just can’t muster up the words or emotions that are needed in the situation. But the lyrics just don’t bear out that point of view. He’s desperately hoping that she won’t go, and that warrants a more emotion-packed performance.

  6. Kit June 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    The only two DR songs that really grabbed me were “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” and “History In The Making.” I actually like his voice, though I’m usually not a fan of that haziness he’s got going on. However his is rather unmistakable (unlike Tim Mc. & Kenny C., whose voices do nothing for me but who occasionally sing great songs). Which is why I was a little surprised to read here he’s had SEVEN country singles! There’s a lot of stuff I must have just dismissed.

    Initially I agreed a little with Kerm33 that the song is all about the disconnect, especially after an exhausting “showdown” all-nighter. But then, why even have this song? The guy is out of bullets, sounds like it, and is just giving up out of, literally, quiet desperation. But if that’s how it ends, it’s just too depressing to have to hear every day. But I’m sure we will!

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