In January, Chase Rice surprised fans when he released The Album Part I, and now, he's back with more new music. On Friday, Rice premiered The Album Part II, a four-song collection that builds on the sound he created with Part I, adding to what may, according to Rice, be a potentially never-ending project. "I'm going to keep going with it until I feel like we need to move on and put something else out," he told PopCulture.com. "I don't know if it's going to be three, four, five, six, seven [parts], I don't know if it's going to be three and four and done. But there's definitely going to be a three and probably a four."
Right now, Rice is focused on Part II, which contains four songs that cover a recent relationship, his younger years in North Carolina and an uplifting reflection on heading into the unknown. "It's just kind of where I am right now," he explained of the project. "In the beginning of my career, you try to do something and try to make music, you try to make yourself have a sound, and sometimes you try too hard, sometimes you nail it, sometimes you don't. And right now, this is where I am. I want it to be each song having its own identity. I think it makes for the best album because it makes for the best songs."
That's certainly the case with The Album Part II, which kicks off with the romantic "You" before flipping to an alcohol-assisted split on "Break. Up. Drunk." "Down Home Runs Deep" is the singer at his core, and Rice named it as his favorite song of the bunch. "That's the one I want to keep listening to the most," he said, joking, "Next week you can ask me that and there's a whole different response. 'Down Home Runs Deep' just takes me back to high school and who I was before all this happened, and when I say 'this happened,' I mean music, my life, and that always takes me to a special place because there's a lot of good memories involved with that."
The closer, "Belong," wasn't originally included in the lineup, but when Rice decided he wanted Part II to have four songs instead of three, the positive message "fit perfectly," he said. "It's kind of about what's going on right now, like 'Calm down, we're right where we belong, where we're going we don't know, but we're going there together,'" he reflected. "I couldn't have written a song that fits better."
The 34-year-old explained that he's adopted a new strategy of releasing smaller amounts of music closer together in order to allow fans to fully appreciate and spend time with each song. Unlike stand-alone EPs, each part of The Album is meant to fit with the others and will eventually merge into one project, according to Rice. "I've seen that done before with six packs and stuff like that, but then they're all separate," he said. "This is all going to end up as one project, and now it's starting to turn into a pretty interesting project because it's all going to be, for the most part, released during such a weird time where everybody's home and all."
Ultimately, Rice hopes fans come away from the full project with a new understanding of him as an artist. "I hope they just hear so many different sounds of me that they haven't ever heard before," he said. "I hope there's people out there that listen to every single song all the way through because that's why I'm calling this The Album, because I think it's the best work that I've ever done as a whole, and I hope people agree." You can stream The Album Part II here.