CD Review of Greatest Hits by Amy Grant
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Label
Sparrow/EMI
Amy Grant: Greatest Hits

Reviewed by R. David Smola

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A
my Grant’s journey from Christian contemporary music (CCM) giant to pop stardom is more interesting then the music that she’s released along the way. She doesn’t have a great voice like Martina McBride, nor does she sing with the passion and soul that Cyndi Lauper does. What she has done is orchestrate a brilliant career and moved the bar up considerably for CCM by blazing a crossover path to pop success and increasing production values for the recorded product. She proved that CCM could sound as good as pop.

This greatest hits collection sequences 19 tracks from Ms. Grant’s pop and CCM career chronologically, from newest to oldest. Track 1, “Simple Things” is from 2003’s release of the same name, while track 19, “Old Man’s Rubble,” is from her 1977 self-titled debut. Those two songs perfectly contrast the two worlds that she’s carefully balanced. “Simple Things” is ambiguous enough for the Christian fans to hear what they want to hear, while the secular crowd gets an upbeat little ditty about enjoying the little things in life. “Old Man’s Rubble” is 30 years old and hammers home the point about living a life with the Lord in the center of it.

Heart in Motion, from 1991, has five tracks on this collection because it is Amy Grant at her commercial peak. The diabetic coma-inducing, sugar-loaded “Baby Baby” is the track that best represents her work during this period – lots of keyboards, a synthesized drum track, and a chorus that won’t leave your head no matter how much Black Sabbath you use to wash it away. “House of Love,” her duet with future husband and collaborator Vince Gill, is one of the strongest tracks of her career; Gill’s voice wraps perfectly around hers to create a perfect pop song.

Her duet with Peter Cetera, “The Next Time I Fall,” is not included – and it should be, even though it was released on a Cetera record. Also missing is her incredibly pleasant cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi.” Despite these omissions, the disc does provide an excellent representative and retrospective of her career. Just make sure you have some insulin nearby to guard against a bad reaction to all the sugar.

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