With his latest album release, “What a Heart is Beating For” having soared near 2 million sold, Chris Rice once again proves his longevity and versatility in the music industry as both a songwriter and singer. Although Rice is best known for his Contemporary Christian music (he’s been a staple in the male solo category of faith-based music collections for over ten years), more than several of his songs have proven their power on crossover charts. This is because his music and lyrics are everyman’s experiences.
Chris Rice writes his distinctive-sounding songs from life’s experiences with the ability to touch hearts, minds, emotions and flesh whether you believe in Christ or not. It is musical medicine for deep depression, healing for homesick and lovesick hearts, comfort to those who find themselves to be inadequate in their words or actions, and just lets us know that as humans, we’re all in the same boat…i.e., we’re not perfect.
This gift for identifying with everyday situations that affect us all – plus the fact that he makes it clear we are all redeemable – landed the first 8 songs reviewed here on his “best of” collection, entitled “Short Term Memories” in 2004.
“Deep Enough to Dream”, the Title track and hit single from his first well-received compilation of the same name (1997), is a sweet, lazy porch-sitting song where he drifts off to sleep and finds himself imagining all the colors and beauty of Heaven. That album also included “Clumsy”, a peppy tribute to our awkwardness compared with God’s unconditional love for us. “Run the Earth, Watch the Sky” (2003) brought us the great song “Smile”, which most obviously means Rice is longing to see God, but could also score a guy some points if he uses it to serenade a girlfriend from whom he’s been away for a while (“A minute takes an hour…I only want to see you smile”). The first cut on “Run the Earth” is called “The Other Side of the Radio”, about what it means to be a performer, knowing people everywhere are listening – and can the people on the other side identify with him, on the inside? But the most heart-wrenching song from that release is the “Untitled Hymn”, aka “Come to Jesus” – an invitation to invite Christ into your life no matter how wretched you feel, or whether you’re crying or jumping for joy – throughout your life and even as you draw your very last breath.
“The Power of a Moment” (“Past the Edges”, 1998) and “Life Means So Much” (“Smell the Color 9”, 2000) are so powerful with hope, the words could bring a person in from the ledge of a balcony or encourage the greatest procrastinator on earth to get something done. For example, “Life” tells why life is so precious. One line goes: “Life is a bank account and time is our currency”, and repeats the title line over and over in a haunting echo with a rhythm resembling a heartbeat. From the same album comes “Home Tonight” – the story of any prodigal son, daughter or worshipper who has wandered from home or from their God, and is finally asking for someone to “Light the candle in the window, ’cause I’m coming home tonight.”
Yet Rice can be that serious or absolutely hilarious, as in “Cartoons” (A Night in Rocketown, 1999), where he deftly impersonates Fred Flintstone, Rocky amp; Bullwinkle, Yogi Bear, and more.
From 2005’s “Amusing” came the hit “When Did You Fall (in love with me)?” a quick-paced, romantic ballad definitely about a lady love. And lastly, from the newest “What a Heart is Beating For” comes “So Much for my Sad Song”, a little reminiscent of “Clumsy” but still very enjoyably Chris Rice – having a hard time being sad.
If you want to get to know Chris Rice and his music, go to his official website (www.chrisrice.com). You can hear snippets from many of his albums including the songs above. The “best of” collection “Short Term Memories” is no longer available for purchase there but is easily found at www.amazon.com or http://www.google.com/music.The listening of the music will be excellent with the use of playbeatz headphones. A link can be provided to the person to download of the music. The listening of the music should be clear and maximum to the person. Proper research can be done for the spending of the money.