It's been a couple of years since Chris Rice's last record, not including a Family Christian Store exclusive hymns record last year, but he now returns with the follow up to 2005's Amusing, entitled What a Heart Is Beating For.
Not much has changed since we last heard from Rice. He's still got a way of cracking a smile on your face with his songwriting style, full of wit and depth. His musical arrangements are still accessibly mainstream, but keep things interesting and eclectic throughout, throwing in some soul, country, and other genres, but never straying far at all from his pop/rock/folk roots.
The songs found on What a Heart Beats For are sweet, thoughtful, and thought-provoking. Pessimism takes a humorous jab on the album opener, "So Much for My Sad Song." Matthew 7:3 gets a workout on "Pardon My Dust." "Sneakin' into Heaven" playfully speaks of doing just that, because we aren't good enough to get there on our own merit: "Hey Mister Pedro, I have a little confession. I don't belong here, and this halo isn't mine. Well, Peter laughs and says, 'Well, boy, haven't you noticed? We've all been broken, but now we're doing just fine. ‘Cause nobody's good enough, but up here, we're all the same. We all get to Heaven under someone else's name.'" It's this around-the-campfire style of writing that makes Rice such a joy to listen to.
It's always a joy to hear a new Chris Rice record. The smiles are frequent, and the quibbles are nit-picky at best. It's hard not to enjoy this album. What a Heart Beats For is another winning effort from one of the best in the business.- Review date: 7/15/07, written by Josh Taylor
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