I know what you're asking; who is Chris Rice and why should I care?
I will be the first to admit that I don't care for pop music, new music, or popular culture of any kind, really. The tides of time find me unswayed by any passing trend. If I want to hear music, I will sit down at a piano and improvise to my heart's content.
Except when I want to listen to this guy.
Too Christian for popular music, too not-just-repetitive-praise-songs-with-the-same-chords for Christian mainstream, Chris Rice has his own unique flavor of quality with originality. His music is so varied that it's practically impossible to pin down into a single genre. I mean, c'mon, Christian music can't have love songs, can it?!
And yet, check out as many of the examples as you like below to see just why his music is truly an overlooked gem of our times.
1. He writes memorable lyrics
"Like a swing set in a graveyard, like a bloom in the desert sand..."
My brothers and I all find this true: we can go for years without hearing a Chris Rice song and the moment we come back, the words flow effortlessly into our minds once again. His gift for words merges the music and poetry into a seamless tapestry of accessible art.
2. He has interesting chord progressions
The brilliance is in how subtle yet interesting and often unexpected these chord progressions can be. Besides, this song is simply awesome anyway.
3. Pessimism is for the...well, pessimistic
Listen, if you want your death and despair music, go somewhere else. This is his attempt at a sad song, and I don't know about you, but I'm pretty happy (get it?) with how it turned out.
4. Songs to make you cry with sweet sorrow? Check.
5. For all times
Although most of his songs deal with the praise and optimism that characterizes his music, his blatant honestly in the tough times when it's hard to hear God's voice is striking and sincere.
6. Love songs that revel in true romance and not lustful whims
Okay, no joke, this song's story is exactly how I hope to fall in love someday. Or more appropriately have someone...well, listen and see.
7. Best getting up song
You don't even have to like coffee (I don't) to love waking up to this song.
8. Chris Rice wrote the best song ever. Really!
9. His longing for Jesus
This is a theme that pops up in his songs again and again. How true it is for those of us who "just want to be with You."
10. So darn easy to sing along (and especially harmonize) with
Don't believe me? Try it out!
Congratulations! If you just sat down and listened to all of these songs in their entirety, you won the prize of being introduced to my favorite sing/songwriter ever.
Believe me, this list could have included more than thirty songs that each are fantastic in their own right, but then if you tried to listen to them all at once you would be found dead a week later at your laptop, expired from the sheer overload of pleasant music so you're welcome.