The inevitable Amy Grant dance mix album is here - and it works!
In Motion: The Remixes
Amy Grant www.amygrant.com
Sparrow Records / Capitol CGM Label Group
11 tracks / 49:12
Amy Grant, though some of my more hard-core contemporaries might disagree, has successfully moved from teen pop star to mature artist status. The candy-coated CCM ditties that she was prone toward in her early recordings have given way to more thoughtful, if still commercially viable, songs reflecting the frailties of life and the tensions of spiritual versus physical reality.
So, why a collection of dance mixes of her greatest hits? I suppose 'why not' would be just as valid a question since, after all, one of Grant's greatest qualities has always been that she's seen as a bridge between the sacred and the secular - well, if that bridge can serve as a dance floor, so be it.
One of the striking things about these songs is the realization that Grant has not only had a good string of crossover successes but that so many of the songs really are better than we might have remembered them, with songwriting solid enough to sustain their integrity even through the beat-heavy treatment of a dance mix. "That's What Love Is For," "Stay For a While," "Every Heartbeat," "Find A Way," "You're Not Alone," "Out In The Open," "Say Once More," "Better Than A Hallelujah," and even the dreaded "Baby, Baby" are served up with added base, new chord sequences, heavy beats and the original vocals remixed and liberally sampled - and, for the most part, it works. There's the occasional feeling of trying to fit a square musical peg into a round musical hole ("Baby Baby"), but it might be less jarring to someone less familiar with the originals.
One thing's for sure - you can dance to it, and I think that's the point.
I'm pretty sure I won't be dancing the night away at any dance clubs any time soon but I could certainly imagine this album livening up a block party this summer.
Rounding out the project there's a 'Bonus Mix' of "Stay For A While" (basically, the song is super-sized) and a 'Mega Mix' incorporating several songs seamlessly segued.
Of course some songs work better than others and there's a minor misstep or two (the 'Gospel Radio Edit' of "Better Than A Hallelujah" is a little wince-inducing when the 'preacher' voice shows up) but this project succeeds in doing what it set out to do - to get you to dance to Amy Grant songs.
- Bert Saraco