The latest song from Chase Rice’s soon-to-release album premiered with a short film on Friday (January 27), bringing attention to mental health struggles and other issues in a raw, emotional way. It’s a track that Rice said is “the darkest but most real thing I’ve ever done in music.”
“Bench Seat,” which released with a nearly 8-minute music video directed by Kaiser Cunningham on Friday, started with an idea from a longtime friend. It’s something that Rice admitted he debated whether he should release: “I’ve been nervous to even put this out, it shows a lot. It’s real. It’s emotional. This is my favorite song I’ve ever released. Bench Seat. My first and probably only dog song.”
Rice added a warning to his Instagram followers before the video premiered: “I wouldn’t show your kids, and I want ya’ll to know it covers addiction, self harm, depression etc. Too many people struggle with it, and it’s time to shine some light on it. A dog saved my best friends life, and my dog Jack has blessed mine more than I ever thought he could. This is based on that story. Just know, you’re never alone. Talk to family, talk to friends, hell talk to me. Love y’all.”
Rice said he initially expected his friend’s idea to be cliché, pitched as a song about “a guy and his dog driving around together.” It turned into a song — one of three solo writes on Rice’s upcoming album — that’s anything but cliché. It pays tribute to Rice’s friend and the dog that he credits with saving his life, notes a press release issued Friday.
“My buddy was in a really dark place – to the point where he was ready to end his own life. It took a lot for him to take me back to that moment, but when he told me what stopped him it stopped me in my tracks: his dog came and laid his head on his lap, and that connection saved him,” Rice explained in a statement. “I wrote this song by myself with the point of view from the dog’s perspective – which might not be obvious right away – and what that moment might have meant for the two of them if not for that intervention.”
The release notes that the intention of Rice’s video is “to encourage viewers to feel comfortable talking about the topic and seeking the assistance they need.” It includes important resources and a reminder that “you are not alone.”
“For the first time in my career, I could envision the whole video as I was writing the song,” Rice said in a statement. “I wanted to shine a light on the topic of mental health because this is something that makes way too many people feel alone and especially when addiction becomes part of the picture, one bad moment can have horrible consequences. I personally know how hard it can be to ask for help when you need it, but I hope this helps start a few more conversations and lets people know they really aren’t alone.
“When my friend was in that moment, it was impossible to see anything but the heaviness,” he continued. “He was able to get the help he needed, though, and now he’s living a beautiful life and starting a family. That’s what this video is really about – showing you the potential for a happy end to the story if you are able to find a way to get help through the dark times.”
Rice’s “Bench Seat” video opens: “This video contains images and language that may be graphic to some viewers and is intended for mature audiences only. Viewer discretion is advised.”
It closes: “If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm, resources and information are available at wannatalkaboutit.com or call, text or chat 988.”
WARNING: Video contains language, self-harm, addiction, substances, death.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide or is in emotional distress, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.