Album: Cracked Rear View (1994)
Charted: 14
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Songfacts®:

  • Hootie & the Blowfish are known for their lighthearted hits, and musically this song gives off that vibe, but "Time" confronts a certain existential despair right from the opening lines as Darius Rucker sings:

    Time why you punish me
    Like a wave bashing into the shore
    You wash away my dreams


    Time is punishing indeed, diluting memories and inevitably bringing sorrow.
  • Hootie & the Blowfish songs are group compositions. Drummer Jim Sonefeld came up with the original idea for "Time." He explained to Songfacts: "In the early '90s we would write songs by committee, just sitting together in one of our dumpy apartments throwing out ideas and strumming them on acoustic guitars. I brought the band the original idea and guide map and it took off from there.

    This song always went over well in the clubs and parties we were playing. It was first recorded with Dick Hodgin at Jag Studios in Raleigh, North Carolina, for our second cassette of original material back in 1991. When it came time to record our debut with Atlantic Records in March of 1994, produced by Don Gehman for Atlantic Records, there was no doubt this would be included."
  • "Time" was the fourth single from the debut Hootie & the Blowfish album, Cracked Rear View. The album took a while to find an audience, but when it did, it stuck around. It was released in July 1994 but didn't get much attention until months later when radio stations started playing the first singles, "Hold My Hand" and "Let Her Cry." "Time" wasn't released as a single until October 1995 and didn't reach its US chart peak of #14 until January 1996, when Hootie fatigue was starting to set in. But the album kept selling. It eventually sold over 21 million copies in America alone, making it the top-selling debut album in history.
  • Sonefeld was a novice guitar player when he joined Hootie & The Blowfish, which, he says, lent a kind of purity to their early hits. "If you have something profound to say over simple music, I don't think they're challenging each other for space. The simple guitar chord leaves room for a heartfelt lyric, and we had all things meeting at that time," he told the Songfacts podcast in 2022.

    With a melody in mind, Sonefeld got the idea to have a conversation with time in the lyrics. He continued: "I was basically speaking to time saying, 'Why are you treating me so poorly?' I was a little pathetic, saying I wish I had more time, or I wish I could learn something with my time. I wish I was smarter with my time. That became the theme for the song. I had structured a little arrangement with verses and choruses, and I mainly was asking time to show me something meaningful - 'Will you teach me about tomorrow and all the pain and sorrow.'"

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