Amy Grant has been making music for close to three decades now. Starting out in Christian music and breaking into the mainstream in the 1980's, Amy Grant has made a lasting impression on music with her radio-friendly pop/rock and her girl-next-door persona.
Greatest Hits 1986 - 2004, her follow-up to her 1986 release The Collection, features more of her mainstream pop hits that are more widely recognizable. The project begins with two brand new songs "The Water" and "Come With Me" that showcase Grant's friendly and inviting vocals set to modern contemporary accompaniment. At first listen, they may not sound like they are worthy to be categorized with such hits, but given time they seem to fit right in.
"The Next Time I Fall" takes the listener back to 1986. The duet with Chicago frontman Peter Cetera is a classic 80's love single and is followed by "Saved By Love" and the anthemic "Lead Me On" from her 1988 record Lead Me On. From those two blatantly faith-based songs, we move to the glory days of her pop career with five tracks from her 1991 hit record Heart In Motion. Starting off with "Baby Baby" which hit number one on both the pop and adult contemporary charts, it's easy to see just why these songs were such hits. While extremely dated, these songs were just about as good as it got for pop radio in the early 90's. Unfortunately they were also void of any spirituality but, at the same time, were just harmless love songs. "Every Heartbeat," "That's What Love Is For," "Good For Me," and "I Will Remember You" are wonderful additions.
"Lucky One" is a remix from her 1994 release House Of Love and follows in suit quite nicely. "House Of Love," featuring a duet with her second husband Vince Gill, and a remix of her popular cover of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" precede "The Things We Do For Love" which originally appeared on the Mr. Wrong soundtrack and appears for the first time on an Amy Grant record here. The album winds down with cuts from her 1997 record Behind The Eyes with the hit "Takes A Little Time", "Like I Love You", and "I Will Be Your Friend". In 2003, Grant tried her hand at pop music once again, returning to the style after a six year absence (releasing a third Christmas album and a hymns record in the meantime), with her album Simple Things. Although not too widely embraced, the title track from the record made it to number 23 on the adult contemporary charts. Nowhere near as good as her most successful recordings, the production seems to try too hard to make Grant sound like her younger self. Regardless, the chorus is strong enough to rescue the pop song and make it a fair inclusion to this solid collection. The album ends with a the '7" Heart In Motion Mix' of "Baby Baby," giving the song a slightly more modern feel. Although not a necessary way to end the project, it's a fine treat for Grant fans.
If somehow you only know Amy Grant's more recent work, Greatest Hits 1986 - 2004 is a wonderful way to catch up on the highlights of the past sixteen years of her impressive career. Longtime Amy Grant fans should be delighted with the two new cuts and the remastered favorites as well as slightly remixed and tweaked renditions included. It's important for a successful greatest hits record to be given the right attention and thought into what makes the cut and it looks like Amy Grant's Greatest Hits 1986 - 2004 is done just right.- Review date: 10/10/04, written by John DiBiase
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