Amy Grant began to outgrow the CCM market in the mid-'80s and hastened that development by turning largely to secular pop music, beginning with her chart-topping duet with Peter Cetera, "The Next Time I Fall," in 1986. Just as her compilation album Greatest Hits 1986-2004 chronicles that period, its companion video collection, Greatest Videos 1986-2004, presents the visual counterpart. The height of Grant's commercial success came with her five-times-platinum Top Ten album Heart in Motion (1991), which threw off five pop hits, all of them included here, while the follow-up album, House of Love (1994), also went multi-platinum with three more pop singles chart entries, also featured here. Thus, the bulk of this material comes from the early '90s. The different directors seem to have had similar ways of presenting the singer (or her management insisted on certain things), since there are great similarities in many of the videos. When Grant's work became non-religious, her lyrics turned largely to wholesome, positive descriptions of romance, and her music was imbued with the keyboard- and percussion-heavy pop sound of the day. The visual expression found for this was to place the sweet-faced, photogenic singer, often wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt, her long, curly hair cascading from her head, sitting in a windowsill or set against big nature scenes -- before a giant waterfall, in the desert, among rock formations, at the seashore with crashing waves in the background. There are also occasions for dress-up, however, and Grant is seen in two videos ("Baby Baby" and "Good for Me") mugging affectionately with an actor. But usually, even when there is some sketchy story being told by the video, the singer is apart from it while others act it out. Thus, the videos, while often eye-catching and full of bright colors, are rarely involving. In addition to the basic 65 minutes of the 16 videos, there is a series of mildly revised remixes, an alternate version of the "House of Love" video (both versions feature Grant's then-future husband, Vince Gill), and a commentary track on which an older and wiser Grant sometimes ponders what the directors had in mind. Of the video for "Say You'll Be Mine," which features a miniature Grant romping around a couple having a picnic, she asks, "What were we thinking?" Watching the black-and-white footage of "House of Love," which alternates a full-scale house and a scale model that she and Gill loom over moodily, she confesses, "I'm not exactly sure what the underlying meaning was," before deciding that some videos are "artsy for artsy's sake, and I think this was one of those." The final video, for "Simple Things" (2003) was her first in six years, revealing a middle-aged Grant looking necessarily more mature than the 25-year-old who made "The Next Time I Fall," but Grant concludes proudly of her current self, "I don't dye my hair, and I haven't had any surgery."
Greatest Videos 1986-2004 Review
by William Ruhlmann
|1||Amy Grant feat: Peter Cetera||Amazon|
|12||Amy Grant feat: Vince Gill||Amazon|