Can't You See This Is Just The Start?
May 15, 2020 5:56 AM   Subscribe

1985 was a ridiculously strong year for music releases. May 15, 1985 also saw the release of Christian artist Amy Grant's first record on A&M, a non-Christian Music label: Unguarded. Walking a fine line with its subject matter but fully embracing 80s pop, it was a Top 40 album [YT playlist, ~45m] and did yield hit songs and began to redefine CCM for a generation. Side A: Love Of Another Kind, Find A Way [video], Everywhere I Go, I Love You, Stepping In Your Shoes posted by hippybear (7 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I have always liked her voice.

I was interested when she crossed over, because up until then I had regarded contemporary Christian music as either Stryper, or the Jesuit priest at our parish who composed lots of hymns named Roc O'Connor (whose name belies his gentle nature, even though the linked interview says his main influence was Pete Townsend!).

Grant showed that there could be a decent fusion of pop with explicitly Christian themes, without turning it into church music.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:01 AM on May 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

I went through a Christian phase in the early 80's and saw Amy perform as a Christian performer: it was a great evening of good pop, even when it as more overtly Christian. I thought she was something of a sellout when she went mainstream though I have no strong feeling on that any more, but I never got in to her more commercial stuff even after leaving Christianity behind for myself.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 7:24 AM on May 15, 2020

I once heard her described as “the crossover who didn’t bring the cross over.”

Like wenestvedt, I’ve always enjoyed her voice. I used to listen to her a lot when I was a churchgoing teen. Christianity is often about guilt, and this was something that was guilt-free (although in our denomination there were some who thought it was wrong because oh no they’re using instruments...) Still, it wasn’t something I felt forced to listen to, it was something I enjoyed, and it felt like a safe place in the constant “you’re going to hell if you don’t do everything exactly right” world that I had found myself in. When she made it big on the charts, even with her more secular music, I was really happy for her.
posted by azpenguin at 8:21 AM on May 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

Yeah, I remember when this happened. It was a big deal for Christian music fans. Kinda like for Country fans when Taylor went pop (except much, much smaller).

Fine voice. She never quite got the most of it though, imo. The only popular song I can think of (Baby, Baby) was absolute tripe. As sad it as seems, even Next Time I Fall was "better."

I'm still boggled by the line "1985 was a ridiculously strong year for music releases." To me, for pop music, that's the time of the godawful Foreigner ballads, cheesiest Hall & Oates tracks, Huey Lewis, Starship, Bryan Adams, (bad) Chicago ... I'm breaking out it hives thinking about it.

On the flip side, Purple Rain (I know it came out the year b4), Head on the Door, Low-Life, and Psychocandy.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:41 AM on May 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

On the flip side, Purple Rain (I know it came out the year b4), Head on the Door, Low-Life, and Psychocandy.

Also, New Day Rising (Husker Du), Tim (Replacements), Hounds of Love (Kate Bush), Bad Moon Rising (Sonic Youth), and Up on the Sun (Meat Puppets). Also "Fables of the Reconstruction" and "Rain Dogs." And technically, My Bloody Valentine released their debut ep.

I also remember 1985 as being a real bummer of a year for music. But to be fair, I was a fourth-fifth grader at the time. So this is sort of a retrospect opinion. At the time. I was mostly listening to Madonna, a well-played 45 of "Take On Me," "The Goonies" soundtrack, and, via my reasonably hip parents, a lot of jazz, old soul and Elvis Costello). It would be some time before I got to any of that mentioned above, because I didn't have any older siblings and was at least 150 miles away from the closest college radio station.
posted by thivaia at 12:53 PM on May 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Always thought it was weird to hear someone describe "writing songs about whatever you want" (as opposed to "making sure the content of your songs doesn't get you kicked off your Christian label and the Christian media outlets") as "selling out."
posted by straight at 4:15 PM on May 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Really, Lead Me On is the go-to album for peak Amy. It's the strongest songwriting, best production, most honest lyrics...

But I was surprised relistening to Unguarded for this post at how appealing a lot of the songs are (in a very 80s way). And also how much Wise Up is actually a really fucking good song that is both Christian and also not, and is a good lesson in maybe listening to your Jiminy Cricket, to use a different metaphor.
posted by hippybear at 7:59 PM on May 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

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