“Bench Seat” by Chase Rice
Chase Rice was a pretty hot item during the 2010s, but since then, it appears that his popularity has waned.
It has been speculated that such loss of interest is what inspired him to adopt a more serious tone with his upcoming project, “I Hate Cowboys & All Dogs Go to Hell”, which is the country singer’s sixth studio full-length.
“BENCH SEAT”, AN EMOTIONAL, MEANINGFUL OUTING
As far as his solo outings go, Rice’s biggest hits are the likes of “Ready Set Roll” and “Eyes on You”, i.e. songs in which he is gushing over a lady. So it has been noted that “Bench Seat” marks a change in direction from his usual fare.
That reality would in part be attributable to the fact that the featured narrative is based on an initially-harrowing true story, i.e. a friend of Chase revealing to the singer that he was on the verge of committing suicide.
What ultimately convinced him not to, quite interestingly, was the loving relationship said friend has with his dog. But that entire episode got Chase to ruminating on the importance of mental health and furthermore opting to lend his celebrity voice to the cause by dropping “Bench Seat”, which he wrote on his own.
THE MUSIC VIDEO
Indeed, Rice was also heavily involved in the creation of the music video to “Bench Seat”, with the song being released as a single on January 27, 2023. According to the singer, that too was unconventional for him. And why? Because it marked ‘the first time in his career that he could envision the whole video as he was writing the song’.
For the visual, Chase employed a director that he was already familiar with in Kaiser Cunningham.
Although the clip is not autobiographical in nature, certain aspects of the singer’s personal life are featured in the visual. For example, the color of the casket are those of the University of North Carolina, the institution from Chase played football and earned a degree before becoming a music star.
But to reiterate, certain aspects of the depicted story are fictional also. One such example is the fact that Rice is currently not married. He also currently doesn’t he have any children as far as we can gather. Yet he does have a wife on the clip as well as a son, who are respectively portrayed by Lauren Whistle and Axl Taylor.
Also interesting to note as far as the clip is concerned is that Chase’s fictional son is named “Danny”.
That’s actually a shoutout to the singer’s dad, the late Daniel Rice. And it is actually Daniel Rice’s mustached photo which serves as the cover art to “I Hate Cowboys & All Dogs Go to Hell”, from which “Bench Seat” is derived.
DOG, A MAN’S BEST FRIEND (SPOILER ALERT)
We might as well get this one out of the way early by revealing in this song, the vocalist is taking on the role of the aforenoted dog, i.e. the one who basically saved his friend’s life. So what the narrative revolves around most pointedly is the pooch relishing being alongside his master – on the road especially – and expressing his affection thereof, i.e. of the two of them chillin’ “on the bench seat”, since they are ‘cruising’ in a truck and all.
So the lyrics do not harp on any subjects like depression or suicide, i.e. those which initially inspired this piece. Instead, as the story progresses, the vocalist observes his companion eventually finding that special someone and subsequently birthing a son.
But the singer does acknowledge in the process that he saved the life of said addressee which. Although not specified in the song, this would be a callback to Chase’s friend’s own pet making him realize that he shouldn’t commit the ultimate act of self-harm.
But the vocalist also, quite confusingly, puts forth that his saving the addressee’s life is “a lie” and rather that the vice versa is true, i.e. the person he’s singing having saved his life instead. But since we know what this song is actually about, we will take that observation as pointing to the selfless nature of the dog, i.e. the faithful animal not wanting to take credit for simply loving a friend.
On one hand, perhaps it can be argued that, if this track is indeed meant to deal with the subject of mental health, it misses the point since such a topic is never directly implied in the lyrics. But along those lines, it should be noted that Chase’s friend’s story also concluded with him, according to Rice, “get(ting) the help he needed… living a beautiful life and starting a family”.
So when Chase refers to this piece being ‘dark’ or what have you, he’s obviously focused more on the video than the lyrics themselves. But all of that said, we will take it that the overall message being relayed is that love can be a powerful thing in terms of keeping a loved one on a steady and healthy path.
In other words, there may be someone in your life who’s having self-destructive thoughts that can be mitigated by simply letting them know that you genuinely care.
Chase is the sole writer of “Bench Seat”. The production of the song, on the other hand, is credited to Oscar Charles.