Garth Brooks - The Chase
Original Release Date: 1992
Audio CD: November 21, 2000
Format: Original recording reissued
Biterate: 320 kbps
If The Dance, The River and other songs weren't enough to prove Garth's amazing range to you, he adds to it with "We Shall Be Free". Of course it created "controversy" among the no-nothings that want Garth to be some kind of George Jones clone. Yo, people, like all things, country music will grow and change. Embrace it, because it is wonderful in this case. It's interesting that all people can say about "We Shall Be Free" is that it's anti-homophobic. Why, yes, it is. It is also anti-racist, pro-freedom of religion, pro-environment, pro-free speech, anti-poverty and all Garth. I'm proud to have country music begin to reflect all that is best about America and her people. It's time the hateful few stopped being able to control the flow of such a powerful American tradition as country music. We shall be free! ~ Schuyler Martinson
As my reviews of his albums are an on-going look back from his first album to his most recent, I must begin by saying that, at least for me, "The Chase" was the album where Garth first began to show that his commercial marketing and familiar styling were replacing his genuineness. By the time "The Chase" was released, Garth was firmly established as an artist. There was to be no question of his greatness, and certainly, no doubt of the success of this album. Perhaps in a need to maintain his momentum and his growth, or perhaps simply to continue to appeal to his massive and ever-growing audience, Garth released an album that seemed very calculated and, stylistically predictable.
"The Chase" is not a bad album at all...far from it, and by the standards of albums in release today, it is a great album. It contains all the elements of a marketable record and features some really great material. The problem is, Garth's early material was so strong, this album had impossibly large shoes to fill and, as a result, maybe fell a little short of the expectations of the audience it intended to reach.
"We Shall Be Free", the first track on the album, an edgy, powerful gospel-rock-ballad, is very well conceived, though it never received the attention it deserved. The song, which states that "we shall be free" when we dismiss prejudice and discrimination, is genuinely powerful, but it was also a little preachy, possibly turning off listeners whos opinions didn't match Garth's.
This album, like others also introduced us to a remake of several classic songs. "Dixie Chicken" was given a refreshing update, again blending the stylings of country with a blend of blues/gospel sound that make it poignant and enjoyable. Garth's reworking of "Walking After Midnight" however leaves something to be desired. It is good, but Patsy Cline gave the song such an absolute sound that this arrangement seems to fall a little short of the mark.
Unlike its predecessors, this album runs a little short on solid singles. The likable "That Summer" is a solid song, but uses the stylings for which Garth was becoming increasingly more recognized by, and results in sounding like a clone of some of his earlier work, instead of simply standing on its own.
The pieces that work best on this album are the ones that went unrecognized by country radio. "Somewhere Other Than the Night" is beautiful, and like much of Garth's material, is not a traditional love song, but instead a reflection on the need for love to extend beyond the physical, and really impact each of us moment by moment.
Perhaps the strongest piece on the album is "Night Rider's Lament", a delightful song about a man's quest to live out his life as a cowboy in the west after giving up the comforts of his life back in the city. The song is bold, and Garth takes a risk with it by yodelling the final portion of the song in the stylings of the old country-western singers. The result is delightful, and a nod-of-the-hat to country music fans of yesteryear.
Although this album does not, in my opinion, equal the strengths of his earlier efforts, it is a great album, full of some really great musical moments. It is well worth the time and the price of the CD, despite being a slightly weaker album than "Ropin' the Wind", "No Fences" and his debut album, "Garth Brooks". It is still classic Garth-and so you can't go wrong here. ~ Schott Kolechi
Garth Brooks - The Chase tracks:
01 We Shall Be Free
02 Somewhere Other Than The Night
03 Mr. Right
04 Every Now And Then
05 Walking After Midnight
06 Dixie Chicken
07 Learning To Live Again
08 That Summer
09 Something With A Ring To It
10 Night Rider's Lament
11 Face To Face