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JFH Music Review

Steven Curtis Chapman, 'Signs of Life'

Steven Curtis Chapman
Signs of Life

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 12 tracks: 56 minutes, 29 seconds
Street Date: 1996


Many, many years ago. a very little me was finding my passion in life - something that has stuck with me for most of my years here: music. Christian music, especially. While looking back, it seems like I loved everyone that was putting out stuff at the time, but I'm sure there were some I passed on that maybe I got into later on. Of course, I had my favorites. For bands, my favorite was, and forever will, be dc Talk. And then there was the CCM solo artists that were the poster boys, and girls, of the industry. And there was one that I always looked up to more than any other. His name? Steven Curtis Chapman.

From the time I was born, I was ravaging my dad's CD collection and especially the CCM section. It was my favorite. And by the time I was 3, it seemed like the majority of them had become mine. (Thank you, dad!)

For the first 10 years (or so) of SCC's solo career, I hadn't known much of his stuff, except for the 1997 Greatest Hits release. So I won't really comment on those in depth, but I will say that in 2016, his earlier albums sound very dated but are still memorable. In 1996, though, he changed. His look, his musical style, everything changed on the Signs Of Life record. Of course, there are still some hints of his sound from previous albums, but it was delivered in a much better way. The production was better, more stripped down. He started to do some more folksy songs, and the writing is great.

Actually, Signs of Life seems so much darker and more mysterious compared to his earlier catalog. The album starts off with the instant classic, "Lord Of The Dance." It sets off the albums in the right way, letting listeners know that he was growing and changing as an artist but still having that contemporary touch of prior albums. As the album goes on, it continues in this vein but I feel as we reach the song "Free" things start to slow down. The latter half doesn't measure up to the first 6 songs or so, but they are still enjoyable and finish out the album nicely.

Signs of Life was an album that I enjoyed as a little boy many moons ago when it wasn't nearly as old as it is now. If you haven't listened to this record before, or have not in while, give it a spin. It was the beginning of Chapman's change into the next decade and onto greater albums like Speechless, Declaration, etc. Signs of Life has aged well considering it's been over 20 years. A solid 90s CCM release from a true CCM legend.

JFH Reader Review: Review date: 1/29/03, written by Samuel James for

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JFH Staff's Additional 2 Cents

While The Great Adventure (and its live album companion) were kind of my introduction to Steven Curtis Chapman in the 90's, Heaven in the Real World and its follow-up, Signs of Life, were really the records that cemented me as a fan of SCC. Signs of Life was a great display of artistic growth for Steven, as he adjusted to the more mid-90's rock sound of fellow big names like dc Talk, Newsboys and Audio Adrenaline, and saw the artist break out of the Contemporary Pop genre. Now over 26 years old, Signs of Life remains a SCC staple and a highlight of his discography. - 6/11/23, John DiBiase of


. Record Label: Sparrow Records
. Album length: 12 tracks, 56 minutes and 29 seconds
. Street Date: 1996
. Buy It:

  1. Lord Of The Dance (5:21)
  2. Children Of The Burning Heart (4:30)
  3. Signs Of Life (5:01)
  4. The Walk (4:12)
  5. Let Us Pray (3:59)
  6. Free (6:44)
  7. Only Natural (3:36)
  8. Rubber Meets The Road (4:13)
  9. Celebrate You (4:31)
  10. What Would I Say (5:41)
  11. Land Of Opportunity (4:54)
  12. Hold On To Jesus (3:51)



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