Item description for Signs of Life by Steven Curtis Chapman...
Outline essential recordingLike his peer Michael W. Smith, the exuberant Steven Curtis Chapman only gets better with each album. The 1996 release Signs of Life shows Chapman at his best. With thoughtful, introspective lyrics and crisp production, Signs of Life bursts with many high moments, including the intro "Lord of the Dance," spiced with Chapman's hot Dobro licks and zesty fiddle. The title song and "Let Us Pray" are the two most radio-ready cuts and will leave you with irresistible melodies. "Celebrate You," "Free," and "Hold On to Jesus" slow it down enough to showcase Chapman's calmer moments. There are few artists like Chapman that can combine his mastery of musicianship and forthright lyrics to produce releases like the must-have Signs of Life. --Michael Lyttle
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Record Label Sparrow
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 5.55" Width: 4.97" Height: 0.54" Weight: 0.18 lbs.
Release Date Sep 30, 1996
Publisher EMI- CMG DISTRIBUTION #36
ISBN 7474003708 ISBN13 0724385155420 UPC 724385155420
Availability 0 units.
More About Steven Curtis Chapman
Steven Curtis Chapman (born November 21, 1962) is an American Christian music singer-songwriter, record producer, actor, author, and social activist.
After starting his career in the late 1980s as a singer-songwriter of contemporary Christian music, Chapman has since been recognized as one of the most prolific singers in the genre, releasing over 20 albums. Chapman has also won five Grammy awards and 56 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, more than any other artist in history. His seven "Artist of the Year" Dove Awards, his latest in 2009, are also an industry record. As of 2007, Chapman has sold more than 10 million albums and has eight RIAA-certified Gold or Platinum albums.
Chapman is also a vocal advocate for adoption, along with his wife Mary Beth. Together, they have started a charity organization called Show Hope (formerly called Shaohannah's Hope), that mobilizes individuals and communities to care for orphans through its international orphan care work as well as adoption aid grants to help put more orphans from overseas and the U.S. in loving, forever families. In 2009, Show Hope finished building Maria's Big House of Hope, a medical care center in China that provides holistic care to orphans with special needs. He is also a contributor to Compassionart, a charity founded by Martin Smith of British Christian band Delirious?.
Chapman was recognized in the Fall 2010 issue of Wood & Steel discussing the new Taylor 714 Signature Series guitar in honor of his youngest daughter Maria Sue. The guitar features the flower from Maria's picture and the word "SEE" on the 12th fret in Maria's handwriting. In 2003, Chapman starred in the Christian film Christmas Child.
Reviews - What do customers think about Signs of Life?
Chapman's artistic breakthrough Jul 6, 2005
Chapman makes a break with longtime producer Phil Naish in favor of Brown Bannister (White Heart, Amy Grant) and it seems the new combo focused a LOT of attention on making his musical backing more layered and interesting. Chapman himself also steps up to the plate a lot more, handling all the backing vocals, doing some electric picking for a change, and adding lots of "exotic" instrumentation personally (dobros,slides,mandolin,lap steel).
Lyrically, he takes some chances as well, using some unusual metaphors to get across his message (the alien theme in the title track, race cars for "Rubber Meets the Road",dancing for our life in general in "Lord of the Dance") that make this some of his most original writing yet. It landed 4 top 10 Christian radio hits: "Lord of the Dance" (#2),"Signs of Life" (#2),"Let Us Pray" (#5) and "Free" (#9).
HIGHLIGHTS: "Lord of the Dance" gets things off to a great start. For the first time, Chapman's tunes feel loose and vibrant with an actual GROOVE to them musically. It's BLUEGRASS pop if you can imagine that...the fiddle and dobro play important parts in the arrangement though it's way too electric to be anywhere near NickelCreek territory. The song celebrates God's role in guiding our destinies. ("I move my feet, I go through the motions/But He gives purpose to chance/I am the dancer/He is the Lord of the dance") In contrast to another review here, the vocal scatting by Chapman lends to the vibe and the song would LOSE impact if that were just replaced by another guitar or something similar. It adds spice. The title track finds Chapman in the shoes of an alien, wondering about the significance of the lives of these Earthlings it's examining. ("Where are the signs,where are the signs of life/The love that proves there is a beating heart inside?") Shane Keister's Rhodes adds a somewhat jazzy touch to the song. Chapman takes a decent electric solo on this one. "The Walk" finds SCC sneaking a touch of acoustic blues into a nice shuffle tempo. The message (follow God with your actions not just your mouth) isn't a new one, but it's done with convincing swagger. The "do justly,love mercy/Walk humbly with your God" bridge is particularly tasty. "Let Us Pray" is probably the hookiest anthem to intercession ever. See if you don't find yourself singing "Let us pray, let us pray/Every moment of the day" after 1 or 2 hearings. "What I Would Say" is a rare introspective moment from Chapman, as he imagines how he'd have related to his late alcoholic grandfather he never got to know. ("I would say I wish I could have known you/And I would say I wish you would've stayed/But most of all I would say I forgive you") SCC uses a nice falsetto I didn't know he possessed at times here, and the strings are beautifully restrained..never manipulative (as has been the case at times on past Chapman outings). "Hold On to Jesus" harks back to Chapman's more acoustic roots and is beautiful in its simplicity.
LOWS: "Free" isn't bad, but some changes would make it a stronger song. It takes a little too long to build. (The first and 2nd verse and chorus don't have a lot of "kick"..it doesn't really blossom until the "And if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed" bridge) and it goes on far too long at nearly 7 minutes. I would still keep the nice coda (with Chapman's phased vocal over the jazzy piano) but eliminate at least 2 minutes earlier in the tune to tighten up the song.
BOTTOM LINE: This CD features so much of Chapman's singing, playing and writing (all but 3 completely self-penned) that it serves as a great way to decide if you like him or not. If you're just beginning to check him out, this is probably a great place to start.
One of his best Jun 21, 2005
"Signs Of Life" is one of the most essential albums in Contemporary Christian music. I haven't seen SCC live, but I own many of his CDs. It is one of his best. Highly recommended.
Inspiring Feb 4, 2005
This is quite possibly Steven Curtis Chapman's most inspiring piece of work. The songs on this album come alive as you listen to them. I love listening to this album early in the morning. Unlike a lot of albums these days that have a great title track and a bunch of songs that are mediocre and just act as place holders, this album actually delivers. I think at most there are 1 or 2 songs that I don't enjoy or at least feel is worthy of listening too. If you want to enjoy a well-rounded inspirational album this one is for you.
getting better all the time Oct 4, 2004
With each new release, Steven Curtis Chapman expands his ability to express passion through his music. More and more he moves beyond the soft, contemplative, predictable songs of his early career and ventures into stronger lyrics and more soulful music. He hasn't quite hit his peak yet, but the growth is really starting to show.
Edgier songs include Lord of the Dance, The Walk and Rubber Meets the Road, songs that challenge with their lyrics and motivate with their music. Some softer but equally good tunes include the moving Free and inspiring Let Us Pray. Most of the rest seem to hover in the vanilla zone, not bad but not outstanding either.
Again, if I had rated this back in 1996, I probably would have given it 5 stars. Knowing how far along Chapman has progressed, and the level of his ability that this album represents, I give it a strong four.
Larry Hehn, author of Get the Prize: Nine Keys for a Life of Victory
Twang, Bang, Slam - not a bad CD, but not his best. Oct 1, 2004
Steven Curtis Chapman tells stories in his songs. He is good at what he does. This CD is no exception, but I wouldn't call it his best work. I will review each song individually to give credit where credit is due - and where the lack of it needs to be brought to light, when that is the case.
#1. Lord of the Dance - The typical fast to slow and back again, hard twangy rock that has made Chapman a success. I good song, but some of his "voice strumming sounds" sounding like "Dehedum deedum, etc." was a little annoying at times. He would have better off to have used an instrument for the sound he needed here.
#2. Children Of The Burning Heart - Some parts are really good, some parts of the song have a drag on sequence that seems out of place with the rest of the song. But for the most part, the song is good - not great.
#3. Signs of Life - Great message in this song. Really makes one think about who we are and why we are here. It ask the question, what is this life about and are we living it with compassion and concern, however not a great musical achievement.
#4. The Walk - Country funk, followed by some rock-and-roll and a little-bit of POP. Not bad stuff, just not near as good as the next song.
#5. Let Us Pray - Smooth track this one is indeed. This is a catchy tune that will have you repeating the words for weeks. "Like breathing in and out, let us pray". Never has a song reminded us to pray as much as this song has. Good stuff!
#6. Free - Reminded me of Bruce Springsteen's Philidelphia. A little too slow, but a great message. How can we be more free than knowing the Savior? No greater freedom exist.
#7. Only Natural - Seemed like filler for the CD. Just my opinion. Others may differ. :-)
#8. Rubber Meets The Road - Hillbilly jive meets blues funk and grabs a little bit of rock in the process. There's just no way to classify this song. It's all over the place and I just don't connect with this one. Sorry if you're a fan of this one.
#9. Celebrate You - Flat and too slow - Air Supply is faster.
#10. What I Would Say - Grrrr...just another too darn slow song. A person could actually fall asleep during the first thirty seconds of this song. Once again, a great message, but just not a very well thought out plan to grab the listener's attention in the beginning. Songs can never be slower than "The Rose"; that's the rule in case you didn't know. :-)
#11. Land of Opportunity - Long INTRO. on this one. A funky little diddly that delivers a little bit of energy, but not as good as "Let Us Pray" and a few others on this disk.
#12. Hold Onto Jesus - Jesus is Lord - this song is about our Savior and what He has done for us. Smooth as silk.