Review: Chase Rice’s Major Label Debut ‘Ignite The Night’ Is Solid

Chase Rice, Ignite the Night © Columbia Nashville

Chase Rice • Ignite The Night • Columbia Nashville • US Release Date: August 23, 2014

Chase Rice may be a ‘household’ name for different reasons than being a country solo artist. Most pertinent to his career itself is Rice co-write the gargantuan country crossover hit “Cruise” (Florida Georgia Line). Outside of his full-time job, Rice may be best remembered finishing second place on Survivor: Nicaragua. With both events behind him, Rice now drops his major label debut (following indie releases and an EP), Ignite The Night. Overall, it proves a pleasant listen.

Little sounds ‘country’ about “Ready Set Roll” initially – the electronic palette is surprising. The cues definitely speak to the progressiveness of contemporary country these days, seeking tastes of pop trendiness. As far as grabbing the listener’s attention, “Ready Set Roll” gets the job done. The best line: “Get your little fine ass on the step.”

“Do It Like This” similarly doesn’t open up with the expected country sound. This experimental spirit definitely keeps Ignite the Night from being predictable early on. The country cues are still there, but they are present with a dab of pop as well. If nothing else, “Do It Like This” is hip. “Beach Town” follows, marking the first song that is ‘country’ without any extra frills. Slowing the tempo down, “Beach Town” is a big mid-tempo country ballad.

“MMM Girl” keeps things medium-fast, delivering a catchy, though not earth shattering record. The simple, but irresistible chorus is the highlight: “Mmm girl, mmm girl, what you doing for the rest of the night?”

Prejudging “Beers With The Boys” would suggest that this song is the ultimate frat-bro country jam. While there are references to a boy’s night out, the song is actually flipping the old motto “bros before hoes.” “We’re on fire, damn girl,” Rice sings on the chorus. “You ‘bout to blow my mind / Tangling in these sheets, you lock them eyes on me / beats a beer with the boys any night of the week.” Many guys would agree, given this scenario.

The old, reliable ‘where I’m from’ song proceeds in “Carolina Can,” where Rice makes references to his baptism (“baptized on Glenville lake”), five years of college (“It was a summer heat dragging me to a fifth year fall…”), and his late father (“A tombstone with my daddy’s name”). While it’s tailor made for Rice, it’s not markedly different from others who have sung a similar song. Still, it’s worth listening to.

Throughout Ignite The Night, Rice isn’t the least bit apologetic where profanity is concerned. Sure, f-bombs are a no-no in country music, but Rice makes about everything else fair game, particularly on “We Goin’ Out.” “Locked and loaded, rocked and rolling / driving our sh*t just like we stole it / all night, good time, damn right / we going out.” From “goin’ out,” on “Gonna Wanna Tonight,” Rice shifts gears to the bedroom – in the most ‘country’ way. Ultimately, he wants to and he hope she wanna!

One of the most profound songs has to be “Look At My Truck” – just kidding. The title is questionable, but country artists seem to love to sing about their vehicles: tractors, cars, trucks… After all, “when the girls would come… it can haul some ass” (*rolls eyes*). “U Turn” features ‘spoken word’ – country-rap if you will. Thankfully, Rice doesn’t try to be Jay-Z, which would’ve been something to say the least. But, lines like “Damn, what’s that tattoo sneaking out of them hip-huggers?” keeps things interesting.

One has to believe “50 Shades of Crazy” was ‘inspired’ by the title of a certain book series. The song isn’t near as risqué as E.L. James’ series, but the girl has definitely made Rice go out of his mind: “I can’t quit, can’t kick this kind of craving / girl you drive me to 50 shades of crazy.” The ‘girl’ continues to dominate Rice’s mind on “What’s Your Name,” where he asks her a number of questions. All in good flirting it seems – assuming Rice isn’t a crazy stalker that is…

“How She Rolls” is a ‘feel-good’ sort of cut, but after several dating-oriented cuts, “How She Rolls” seems like one too many. On closer, “Jack Daniels & Jesus” Rice delivers some of his best vocals. The chorus is among the best written and sung of Ignite The Night: “I’ve taken a ride in the devil’s Cadillac / I’ve been so high thought I wasn’t coming back / and just when I think I’m too far gone / Ringing in my head’s the twenty-third psalm…I’m lost somewhere between Jack Daniels and Jesus.”

Overall, Ignite The Night is an enjoyable country album. At times, it veers away from country while at others it is firmly planted and plays upon clichés. It may not be perfect, but Rice definitely shows the wealth that he offers as a country musician.

Favorites: “Ready Set Roll,” “Do It Like This,” “Beers With The Boys,” “Jack Daniels & Jesus”


Photo Credits:  © Columbia Nashville, © Instagram / chaserice

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