Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Weekend Reviews | Pop

A More Complex, Conflicted Amy Grant

April 06, 1998|MARC WEINGARTEN

The usual rap on Amy Grant--at least from those who haven't paid attention to her in a while--is that she's a Pollyanna, a slick purveyor of Christian pop singing her three-minute sanctified odes to a devoted, unquestioning audience.

That may have been the case early on, before Grant successfully expanded her market share by exploring secular subject matter, but the truth is that her music has grown increasingly more complex and conflicted with each passing album. Grant's performance at the Universal Amphitheatre on Friday featured songs that pitted faith against romantic passion, commitment against freedom, with clear-eyed forthrightness.

In fact, Grant studiously avoided any hint of sentimentality, devoting the bulk of her two-hour set to downtrodden mid-tempo songs whose protagonists struggle to work their way out of emotional or spiritual crises. Singing in a wispy soprano that's grown huskier and deeper over time, Grant unflinchingly traced the downward trajectory of a broken love affair in "Like I Love You," then turned cautiously optimistic on songs such as "Turn This World Around" and "Takes a Little Time." She cloaked her religious themes in songs that conflated Christianity and earthly love; when she sang the line "I'd be lying if I said I have not tried to leave a time or two" on the song "Every Road," it took on multiple meanings.

Through it all, Grant worked subtle variations on her middle-of-the-road sound, offering up smoldering pop, breezy country-rock and gentle acoustic balladry. A casually assured performer, she even willingly accommodated a few zealous fans who shouted out requests. Although Grant is something of a pariah among the Lilith Fair crowd, she proved she deserves more attention being paid to her.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|