Even now as you glance upon this review, some are asking themselves, "Wait a second... didn't Amy Grant already come out with a greatest hits album and fairly recently?" The answer is an emphatic "yes," and more specifically, it was only three years ago since the last hits compilation. But with great label switches come greatest hits projects. It's inevitable.
Since Amy Grant and her catalog of music has migrated from Word Entertainment on over to EMI CMG, the latter is celebrating the aquisition with Greatest Hits, their own take on a compilation of hits from Amy Grant's impressive discography. The pop princess has churned out some truly memorable tunes in both the mainstream and Christian markets, and once again we have a 19-track collection as proof. Where 2004's Greatest Hits 1986 - 2004 offered a slew of goodies along with it, the simply titled Greatest Hits boasts 19 remastered cuts straight from her established catalog - no remixes, no new exclusives. While this allows room for some golden oldies to make the cut, it edges out the feeling that the collection represents Amy's past and present and not only her past. It may be tempting to look at this collection as a representation of one of those champions of music from yesteryear you find in the bargain bin end cap in a music store. There's no hint as to what's to come next from Grant. And with last year's fantastically intimate retrospective Time Again... Amy Grant Live, it seems monotonous to have yet another retrospective hit the shelves.
But how does this collection represent our Amy? Quite well. It does give a wonderful sampling from her career. Although "Simple Things" isn't the strongest choice to kick off the project, it gets right on track with "Takes a Little Time" and the hopelessly catchy "Lucky One." Most of the first half of the disc is loaded with those infectious pop songs that remind you of the iconic Amy Grant: "Baby Baby," "Every Heartbeat," the powerful "Lead Me On," "That's What Love Is For," "Good For Me," and one of the most emotional and heartbreakingly haunting love songs to ever come to mind, "I Will Remember You." And the selection turns to the more spiritual and intimate as well with "Thy Word" and "El Shaddai," an element of Amy's career that was sorely missed on Greatest Hits 1986 - 2004. So if you were to want one compilation of Amy's career highlights, the new Greatest Hits is your pick.
For fans, the regular edition of Greatest Hits is really a waste. Nowadays, it's so easy to make your own mix CD of your favorite songs that a collection without bonus cuts is ultimately pointless. Even someone looking for their favorite popular songs by an artist doesn't have to wait for a project like this to come around to just hop on iTunes or any other digital music provider and pick out whichever tracks they like best for their own compilation. I would have liked an additional track or two of what Amy's up to today tacked on here to give it a little more of Amy's personal touch to it. Knowing it's the byproduct of a label switch makes it just feel wholely impersonal. The CD/DVD "Special Edition" of the release, however, does offer some more thoughtful additional content to entice fans, especially including a 40 minute interview, among other treats.
As a collection of the best from Amy Grant's sterling career, Greatest Hits is a fine, meaty 19-track collection. At just under an hour and twenty minutes of quality pop music from the 70's, 80's, 90's, and 00's, Greatest Hits is a great way to introduce someone to Grant's work. For longtime fans, Greatest Hits is just a trip down memory lane which offers nothing new to add to your collection.- Review date: 9/29/07, written by John DiBiase
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