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Short Term Memories

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Jun
Short Term Memories
Sounds like … the singer-songwriter finesse of troubadours like James Taylor, Lyle Lovett, and David Wilcox, plus Rice's idiosyncratic, youth-ready stamp of folk/rock/popAt a glance … this hits collection recapitulates most of Chris Rice's smashes, misses a couple, and adds a gem or two to his celebrated repertoireTrack ListingDeep Enough to DreamGo Light Your WorldSmellin' COffeeThe Other Side of the RadioClumsy (live)Mama PraysSmell the Color 9Welcome to Our WorldLife Means So MuchUntitled Hymn (Come To Jesus)Power of a Moment Sometimes LoveAnd Your Praise Goes On…Smile (Just Want to Be With You)Face of ChristHome TonightCartoons (live)

Of all the great talent at Rocketown Records, none is as endearing or remarkable as its first signee, the always-quirky Chris Rice. Rice took Christian music and radio programmers by storm with his smartly written brand of folk-pop, a breath of fresh air among the sappier, more serious fare ruling the AC charts.

Short Term Memories chronicles this trajectory with most of Rice's hits—and it almost gets it right. The biggies are all here ("Sometimes Love," "Deep Enough to Dream," "Smellin' Coffee," plus a host of others) and they sound just as immediate as when they first came out. The inclusion of lesser hits is a bonus ("The Other Side of the Radio," "Face of Christ," "Home Tonight"), but why did the excellent "Naïve"—the only glaring omission—get the boot?

New studio cuts include "Go Light Your World" (a Rice original first popularized by Kathy Troccoli), a new acoustic mix of "Untitled Hymn," and "Mama Prays," a nimble folk-pop number that sounds like a B-side from Run the Earth. As for unreleased material, live renditions of "Cartoons" and "Clumsy" are as "rare" as it gets. With disc space to spare, this retrospective would've been better with some other Rice rarities—like his fine cover of Rich Mullins' "Calling Out Your Name" or "Nothin'," from the 1998 Exodus project.

Even so, the new tracks, the colorful packaging, and the song-by-song commentary by the man himself should be enough to please longtime Chris Rice fans and to pique the curiosity of those who have yet to give this fun-loving troubadour a chance.