Amy Grant “In Motion: The Remixes” Album Review (Video)
Prime Cuts: That's What Love Is For (Featuring Chris Cox) Radio Edit, You're Not Alone (Featuring Guy Scheiman) Radio Edit, Every Heartbeat (Featuring Moto Blanco) Radio Edit
Dance music thrives on songs that have instantaneous ear-grabbing prowesses as well as songs that have a bubblegum elasticity so that they can be stretched to handle the polytechnics of today's sonic augmentations. There are no better canon of songs that better qualify than the pop songs of the 80s and the 90s. This is why up till today, the remixes of Whitney Houston' "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," Madonna's "Vogue," and LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live" are still DJ favorites. Naturally, the attention now turns towards Amy Grant. After all, she was not only the queen of contemporary Christian music, but in her 90s heydays her sceptre was all over the Billboard Hot 100 chart with hits such as "Baby Baby,' "Every Heartbeat" and "Lucky One." "In Motion: The Remixes" finds some of the music industry's greatest producers and DJs such as Chris Cox, Tony Moran, Moto Blanco, 7th Heaven, and Dave Aude taking up the task of giving nine out of Grant's favorite songs updated and remix treatments.
For starters, a word needs to be said about the album's song selection. Rather than allowing sloth to get the upper hand, care has been taken to canvass songs that were not just Grant's biggest mainstream hits, but also songs that were more religious in its content (such as "You're Not Alone" & "Better Than a Hallelujah"). Further, despite the album's titular, only four songs are garnered from Grant's commercially most successful record "Heart in Motion": "That's What Love is For," "Baby Baby," "You're Not Alone" and "Every Heartbeat." With the rest of the songs coming from different epochs of Grant's illustrious career ranging from the time before she became a household name vis-à-vis "Heart in Motion" (e.g., "Stay for a While" and "Find a Way") to her latter more contemplative years ("Better Than a Hallelujah").
On the whole the remixes are mostly well done with the best being Chris Cox's treatment of "That's What Love is For." Despite the fatter beats relative to the original, Cox is carefully not to drown out Grant's vocals especially in the song's softer moments. DJ duo Moto Blanco who has been known for turning up the beat for Adele, Cee Lo Green and Mary J. Blige maintains the upbeat feel in "Every Heartbeat," but gives it a European club rhythm that easily sheds years off this twenty three year-old song. Already a #1 hit on Billboard's Dance Chart is Dave Aude's take of Grant's iconic "Baby Baby." By accelerating the pace of the song by quite a few notches, Grant literally sounds like she's out of breath. And the heavy rhythmic thumping somehow pilfers the song of its naivety and sweetness.
With regards to Grant's earlier songs, the remixes get a little trickier. This is because many of Grant's earlier recordings were the products of its time when the recording sound was not as pristine as today. Thus, Ralphi Rosario is to be congratulated for giving "Find a Way" an updated jeep funk makeover despite the poorer sound quality in Grant's voice. Coming from a time when Grant was battling a difficult marriage with her then-husband Gary Chapman, we get the conflicting "Stay for a While," which later became one of Grant's most successful crossover mainstream hit. Here Tony Moran and Warren Rigg rightfully bring out the emotional drama of the song while superbly ratcheting up the song's electronic vibes. Most interesting among the remixes is 7th Heaven's treatment of "Out in the Open." Giving "Out in the Open" a cinematic treatment, the song sounds like the unreeling of a movie giving us a new found appreciation of what's otherwise an often overlooked track.
Unlike many remix projects where songs can be so distorted that they sound like endless mechanical rantings, here the treatments are done with class, thought and care.
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