69. Amy Grant: Unguarded

(A&M, 1985)
(A&M, 1985)

Amy Grant reigned as Christian music’s uncontested queen of pop during the ’80s. Oh, there were other women in the genere who sold their share of records. (Sheila Walsh, Connie Scott and Kathy Troccoli come to mind.) But none were as popular as Grant, and Unguarded shot her stock through the roof. It also served to increase her mass appeal on the other side of the music industry with the move from contractual obligations with Myrrh to a deal with A&M.

Musically, Unguarded is catchy pop in the vein of Madonna, but without the lyrical preoccupation with sex. (Unguarded came out a year after Like a Virgin). Instead, Grant sang about Love of Another Kind, which was the title track that kicked the album off. It’s a really good pop song, followed up by the excellent Find a Way which cracked the top 10 on the adult contemporary charts. Other standout tracks on the record include Stepping In Your Shoes, Everywhere I Go and Wise Up, but there really isn’t a bad song on it. The record was a long way from Age to Age, which was my introduction to Grant. The music on Unguarded was edgier and Grant was wearing a leopard print jacket on the album cover to boot.

And while it’s  a good pop record, I think I’d take Sheila Walsh’s Don’t Hide Your Heart if I had to choose between the two. Both albums came out in 1985, but Walsh didn’t have the marketing machine behind it that Unguarded did and, because of it, seems to retain some originality. In retrospect, Unguarded appears to have been a calculated career decision to maximize Grant’s reach as an artist or, to put it less eloquently, as a pop commodity. Still it’s catchy and easy to listen to music, and you can’t fault a singer for wanting to expand her horizons or pop star aspirations, can we?

TRACK LISTING:

  1. Love of Another Kind
  2. Find a Way
  3. Everywhere I Go
  4. I Love You
  5. Stepping in Your Shoes
  6. Fight
  7. Wise Up
  8. Who to Listen To
  9. Sharayah
  10. The Prodigal

LISTEN  HERE:

http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/amy-grant/album/unguarded

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