[ CD Baby, 2013 ]
If you’re sick of all the popular music out there that focuses on things like sadness, anger, suicide, abusive relationships, drug addiction and meaningless sexual relations, you’ll find singer-songwriter Chris Chickering’s album Living in the Now to be a welcome change. Chickering’s sound is best described as a fusion of soft rock, pop and folk with meaningful, uplifting lyrics.
Chickering is the founder of Music for Positive Change, a venture that aims to connect both musicians and those who appreciate music through inspiring, empowering tunes that touch the heart, mind and soul. His lyrics have a spiritual element, but are non-denominational. They illustrate universal truths about life, dreams, feelings and relationships that people of virtually all walks of life can relate to. Living in the Now isn’t hard rock, but it isn’t sleep-inducing, and it certainly wouldn’t be classified as bubblegum pop, either. It inhabits a gray area between the extremes of musical genres, making it accessible to a variety of age groups. Even those listeners who don’t pay a great deal of attention to lyrics will have their spirits raised by this album, as the sound on its own is enough to generate an atmosphere of happiness.
As for the lyrics, three of the major themes are living in the present, gratitude and following your dreams. In the title track “Living in the Now,” Chickering sings “Let’s make no illusion / there can be no substitution / for being in the moment that you’re in.” He reminds us to be grateful in his song Gratitude: “What seems so severe / depends on what you compare it to / let’s have a little gratitude.” and to work towards goals in the encouraging songs “You’ve Got the Power” and “Light of Day.”
Many feel that inklings of a spiritual revolution are beginning to occur as we tire of the traditional ways of the world, which the songs “Time of Truth” and “The Revolution,” refer to. Within them, Chickering urges us to “raise our vibration” and “wake up the consciousness” within ourselves, so that we can “come together and walk into this time of truth.” For listeners, whether they consider themselves spiritual or not, hearing this may provoke a feeling of Oneness with the rest of humanity that can then lead to feelings of being secure and supported.
Overall, the ultimate message of Living in the Now, Chickering’s second album (the follow-up to 2012’s Shine), is that we must live passionately and allow ourselves to be as happy as possible, since our time on the Earth is short, and will go by much more quickly than we imagine. Chickering encourages us to think about the universal ideas he presents while still maintaining an upbeat outlook, instead of pulling us into the throes of a neurotic, melancholic analysis of all that’s wrong with the world. As opposed to recounting life’s problems like some artists do, his message, delivered by his soothing voice and backed by satisfying instrumentals, focuses on what we can all do to make things better.
Watch Chris Chickering’s free music video, “The Crazy Crazy Ones,” in which he sings a tribute to 53 of the most inspirational people who ever lived: