EP REVIEW: Chase Rice – ‘The Album Part II’

LifeInASong_UK

Following the current trend for album releases, Chase Rice has dropped ‘Part II’ of ‘The Album’ featuring four new songs to follow-up the seven released on ‘Part I’ earlier this year. The new collection is a vast improvement on its predecessor, with lots more melodic depth, instant likeability and consistency. In this instance, the drip-feeding of new music works to Chase’s benefit, with the spotlight now on four effective, impactful songs rather than them getting lost in an otherwise fairly generic album. All four have the ingredients for big streaming stats and high-profile playlisting, which ultimately is the end goal with new releases nowadays.

‘You’ begins ‘Part II’ in a very pop-influenced fashion, starting with an innocent piano introduction before exploding into a bass-heavy, in-your-face chorus. The use of a female backing vocal suits the track, and Chase Rice’s gravelly vocal delivery, very nicely. It’s one of his most mainstream-leaning releases to date and is a real stamp of authority and intention to kick off the project. It’s unapologetically loud, anthemic, and definitely one for the live shows.

The second track, ‘Break Up Drunk’, is the EP’s big highlight and the most recognisably ‘country’ track on offer. Similarities can be drawn to High Valley, with that pounding backbeat, uplifting chorus and the acoustic guitar-driven melody. A cracking roll-your-windows-down summer banger, it’s great to see Chase Rice putting out a big, fun ‘smile’ anthem like this, something which his back catalogue has perhaps been lacking. This vibe works really well for him and it’s something he should tap into more on future projects. Maybe this one could work as a country radio single?

More likely to be released as a single, however, is ‘Down Home Runs Deep’, a confession of Chase’s ‘down home’ roots and how “you can’t outrun what you were raised on”. A strong country-rock infusion with a huge, soaring chorus, it screams country radio and could be a big hit for the summer. It’s songs like this that exemplify the shift in Chase Rice’s career, from the forgotten man in the world of country radio a couple of years back, to someone who knows where his success lies, knows what will work commercially, but also knows what will work for his fan base. ‘Down Home Runs Deep’ is a great amalgamation of that.

‘Part II’ closes with ‘Belong’, a smoother, laid-back track with Sam Hunt-esque rapping through the verses and some inclusive ‘woah’ singalong parts in the chorus. Showcasing a more reflective side to his music, it’s a gentle end to an EP that displays a lot of diversity. His output has always been hit-and-miss in the past (including ‘Part I’), but this is his strongest collection of songs to date, and should set him up for one or two more successful radio hits. Chase is one of the genre’s really good guys, and it’s great to see him firing on all cylinders.

Dan Wharton
@LifeInASong_Dan

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