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