“El Shaddai” by Amy Grant

Contemporary Christian Music has a bad reputation that, from what I gather, is not entirely undeserved, but Amy Grant was basically the CCM scene’s equivalent of the Beatles at this point in her career, so it stands to reason that her music would be of higher quality than most of her peers in the genre. Most people are largely familiar with her later, more mainstream Pop material like “Baby, Baby”, which, while it was still squeaky-clean and inoffensive to a fault, was at best ambiguous about whether it carried any religious message. But surprisingly enough, her early work, back when she was limited to the Evangelical Christian cultural bubble, is actually a lot more interesting. She was, at least superficially, making the same basic kind of Pop music in those days apart from the religious lyrics, but most of her overtly Christian music has a clarity and sincerity in both writing and performance that her Pop material doesn’t even distantly approach. You may not agree with the content of her Evangelical Christian message (I will readily admit that I myself do not share her beliefs), but she delivered it with a sense of inner fire that has to be respected to some degree, and her decision to go Pop really was a case of an interesting talent selling out to the conventional mainstream style. This song in particular serves her well…her breakthrough hit on the Christian charts, it was adapted from actual bible verses and sounds like a genuine legitimate hymn from the era when no-one had a negative opinion of religious music, and she sings it with an almost eerie intensity.

Verdict: I honestly wasn’t expecting to be so impressed by this, but it’s definitely some of the better religious music of the era. Good.

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