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Signs of Life

4.8 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Most of the songs are written and composed by Steven Curtis Chapman, one of the most celebrated song writers of Christian music ever. His music is always timely and filled with heart.

Amazon.com

Like 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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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 3, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sparrow Records
  • ASIN: B000005KYA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,407 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I originally bought this cd for the song "Free", but it didn't take too long to fall in love with other songs like "Lord of the Dance","Signs of Life"and "Land of Opportunity"! Steven always chooses the best songs to end with. "Hold on to Jesus" always continues to minister to me. This cd not only inspired me to take up learning the guitar, but has also introduced me to the best Christian music artist around!!
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Format: Audio CD
One of the best Christian albums I've ever heard, "Signs of Life" does a great job of combining pop, folk, rock, and even some blues into an enjoyable listen. Acoustic pop rock is the groundwork for the record, shining in such songs as the upbeat hit "Let Us Pray", the semi-urgent "Lord of the Dance", and the pleasant title track, (the lush harmonies on the final chorus are fantastic!). Elsewhere, "The Walk" throws a little blues influence in, with it's guiding chorus and Micah 6:8 reference. Two of the more thoughtful songs are the prison-inspired anthem "Free" and the delicate closing song, (and my personal favorite), "Hold on to Jesus". There are also some fine rockers like "Children of the Burning Heart" and "Only Natural" to pick the album's pace up a bit. All in all, this collection is a superb offering from one of Christian music's most popular artists.
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Format: Audio CD
Steven Curtis Chapman is one of Christian music's most popular and best selling artists, but even the best grow stale after a while. While HEAVEN IN THE REAL WORLD was a very good CD, it lacked some of the punch and clarity of Chapman's earlier efforts. SIGNS OF LIFE was released with much ado about the 'reinvention' of Chapman's music, and it played true to the hype. "Lord of the Dance" is an opening knockout, and "Children of the Burning Heart" and "Let Us Pray" are both catchy, driving songs with outstanding hooks and great lyrics. Chapman sang the majority of the backup vocals on this CD, and the vocal layering is really intense at times, giving excellent depth to the songs on the album. There really isn't a stinker in the bunch, and Christians and non-Christians alike should be very pleased with the musical qualities of this CD, which is not always the case with contemporary Christian music. But then again, this is Steven Curtis Chapman, and dedicated fans have come to expect nothing less.
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Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: Audio CD
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
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