With the success of the band Incantation and ethnic South American music in 1982-1983, Chris Rea introduced his sixth album, Wired to the Moon, with the track "Bombollini," which was over six minutes of jungle-sounding drums and the haunting sound of pan pipes. The ethnic flavor continued on the second track, "Touché d'Amour," which was reggae in the unashamed style of lovers rock. However, Rea wasn't going to disappoint his fans altogether, small in number though they were in the U.K., having built a career over several albums of soft rock tracks and midtempo ballads with Dire Straits-style guitar breaks, and the rest of the tracks on Wired to the Moon fell easily into this category, especially "Shine, Shine, Shine" and "Holding Out," which were lovely emotive ballads. Meanwhile, "Ace of Hearts," the title track, and the final song, "Winning," were soft rock numbers – almost MOR – crying out for daytime radio play or a top-selling commercial artist to cover them (but neither of these came about). Yet again, the record company released just one single from a Rea album.
New Light Through Old Windows is a significant baker's dozen of Chris Rea's early material, leading up to but not including work from his Road to Hell album. Rea's stature was always larger in the United Kingdom than in the U.S., with his only American Top 40 single coming from the newer version of "Fool (If You Think It's Over)," a re-release of the same song which failed to garner any attention the first time around. Rea's soothing voice is indeed attractive, and the songs that are included on this set are wisely chosen examples of his smooth style. "I Can Hear Your Heartbeat" from Water Sign and "Stainsby Girls" off Shamrock Diaries are two of the better tracks that showcase his slick, demure-like manner. "On the Beach," from his best-selling album of the same name, and his highest charted single in the U.K., the perky "Let's Dance," represent a lean toward a more commercial sound.