Darius Rucker has a formula that works with country listeners, yet he strays from it slightly with the third release from his 'Charleston, SC 1966' album. 'I Got Nothin'' begins in a familiar and cozy setting -- once again, Rucker goes to the kitchen cupboard in search of common denominators -- and quickly gets to the plot of the story.

"It's my third cup of coffee / Fifth time I said I'm sorry / The sun slowly peeking through the glass says we've been up all night," he sings.

Rucker is sort of the Drew Barrymore of country music, in that we know that despite a few setbacks and scenes of unbridled emotion, his stories will end with happy tears. It's not a terribly unique story, but it doesn't have to be because we really, really love that story.

"Maybe I should say something / Maybe you'd change your mind / Maybe, maybe buy a little more time," the song goes on.

The chorus sets up the heartbreak: "But I got nothin' / No magic words to stop your leavin' to end this hurt / I'm just blank, starin' into space, prayin' please, please let me think of something / Because I got nothin'."

Then we wait for the twist. And wait, and wait some more. Suddenly it's clear that there isn't enough time left for things to get sorted out. It's a little unnerving, and Rucker needs to be praised for stretching the scope of his songwriting, albeit slightly. During the bridge he really pushes his emotions to the edge and takes us with him: "You're almost at the door / And you stop and turn around / Your eyes are begging me / Please say something right now / But I got nothin'."

The story swells to a crescendo and we're at the edges of our seats, staring into the silver screen pleading with him: "Say something! Please, don't let her leave!"

'I Got Nothin'' isn't the catchiest of Rucker's radio hits, but he makes up for it with an unexpected ending that leaves only a sliver of hope. Perhaps there will be a sequel that straightens things out.

Rating: 9/10

Listen to Darius Rucker, 'I Got Nothin''