If Chase Rice wanted folks to get excited about his new single "Whisper," he's certainly going about it in an interesting way.
The "Gonna Wanna Tonight" singer shared a picture of a handwritten letter to fans at the same time he released his brand new single urging them not to jump to conclusions with the song.
In the note, Rice says he and his team have worked really hard on the new single, but that it's not a particularly meaningful or deep song. If you want that, he says, wait for the album (a word he often wrote in all caps and underlined).
Is it a kind-of, sort-of apology for the new single? It sure feels like it, in a "sorry not sorry" kind of way.
He's not wrong, either. Whisper is not going to satisfy anybody looking for a good song, lyrically or musically. It comes complete with a graphic but not particularly sexy double-entendre ("The ups and downs of these halls (oh)/hear what can start with a whisper") and the second verse is just sex on a table (and a complete disregard for the innocent groceries that were once on it). But the cadence of the vocal is pretty catchy, so there's something.
Here's the letter with the full text:
What's up y'all, Chase here. I wanna start by saying I hope y'all enjoy my new song "Whisper." My guys and I have put a ton of work and thought into this new music, and I know a bunch of you out there will love it. Having said that, I'm not ignorant, there are a lot of people out there waiting for country music to find a little more depth and meaning. Well, I agree with you. Country music deserves that. This first song may not be what you're looking for yet, but that's ok, because music was not meant to be heard in singles, but in albums. My album will be out later this summer, and I can promise you one thing....if you absolutely love this progressive version, I appreciate you, and I think you will love this upcoming ALBUM. If you have listened to my music for years and want to hear more depth and meaning, I very much appreciate you, too, and your desires will also be fulfilled on this album (and truthfully, that was my goal on previous albums with songs like "Carolina Can" and "Every Song I Sing.") I grew up on guys like Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney. Songs like "The Dance" and "There Goes My Life" spoke to me at that time and still do today. They helped shape me as an artist and as a man. I cannot speak to the state of country music, after all I'm just one small part of it, but I can speak about my music, and I have a strong desire to put my life stories--good or bad, fun or serious, cliche or not often said--into my albums. Having said this, I also know I can't please everybody, so if you're a fan of mine, thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you're not a fan of mine, you most likely haven't gotten this far in this letter, but I appreciate you, too, because you, too, give me the drive to maybe one day convert you with three chords and the truth, one song, or one show, but since it's coming from me, it's going to come to you one album at a time.
It takes a village to make an artist or fad successful, and in the village of bro-country, Rice may have well been the deputy minister of health as a co-writer of Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise" and the artist that brought us "Ready Set Roll". It's great that Rice recognizes his collaborators and his fans, but let's call a spade a spade: bro-country has been good to Rice, so he's going to keep making it, in all its forms.
Invoking the names of Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney to somehow capture other fans is pointless. Let your music speak for itself, and if what is says is, "Let's bang on a table," then so be it. People who want to hear that will listen, and the rest of us who don't will look elsewhere.
Rice says in the note that music should be heard in albums, not singles, but singles have also been very good to Rice, and the decision to release one that closely echoes a Sam Hunt track with less nuance was calculated and business-savvy. He hopes to win his detractors with his albums, not his singles, but you'll be hard pressed to convert the average listener whose primary exposure to his music is three very similarly-themed singles.
All the same, Rice says the people who don't like his music will push him just like his fans, and that he hopes to win them over one album at a time. Cool. Please do.
Because Chase Rice isn't going away as long as he's selling out those 2,000-seater venues (a very honorable feat). So if he's been sitting on some country gold, we more than welcome it. No handwritten warning necessary. Just lay it on us.
In related thoughts, when does that Kenny Chesney/David Lee Murphy/Buddy Cannon collaboration No Zip Code come out?