After a painfully long six years since Amy Grant's last pop album (she released a collection of gospel hymns in 2002), the prolific singer/songwriter returns to the pop/rock fold with the candid and thoughtful Simple Things. Producers Keith Thomas, Brown Bannister, and Wayne Kirkpatrick give Grant a wonderful blueprint to build from, which she takes full advantage of, gifting the listener with beautifully poetic music to revel in. While never one to shy away from expressing the deepest recesses of her soul, it is somewhat surprising how open Grant is in relating very recent and highly publicized events (starting with her divorce from singer Gary Chapman), depicting both the work it takes to find peaceful ground amidst difficult situations (the poignant and telling "Eye to Eye") and the fulfillment and joy experienced in discovering true love (the delightfully upbeat "Looking for You"). Although one might argue that it is all a matter of the listener's interpretation, it's not hard to see the correlation between real life and the lyrics. Grant testifies what it means to find God's grace and forgiveness in the gorgeous "Out in the Open," while pondering life's defining moments with "I Don't Know Why." Examining the faults and failings of choices made in life with "Innocence Lost," Grant speaks honestly about the tribulations that were publicly displayed in the media and the personal redemption that followed. Expanding her vocal horizons, the singer harks back to the days of moody torch singers with the romantic "Touch," and joins husband Vince Gill for the emotional "Beautiful," which focuses on the positive aspects in a relationship that wasn't meant to be. Hardcore fans will remember the sentimental closer, "After the Fire," from Grant's 1997 appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show. The album's opener, "Happy," easily bests most of the tracks hitting Top 40 airplay, while the title cut (and first single) is a breezy, fun anthem about the importance of the "simple" everyday "things" of life that are too easily taken for granted. At only ten tracks, most fans may find their one complaint is that this collection is much too short. However, with Grant possessing a voice that continues to grow more rich with time, and a gift for writing heartfelt and soul-searching songs, a "too short" album is a small price to pay for such a solid work. With nary a throwaway track among them, all the songs combine to make Grant's Simple Things simply perfect.
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AllMusic Review by Daniel Malich