How The Years Go By: The Electro-Acoustic Tribute To Amy Grant

Various Artists

Vitamin Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I am not the biggest Amy Grant fan in the world. Aside from "El Shaddai" (which had great meaning for me thanks to a retreat I went on in high school), I could appreciate her crossover from the world of Christian music to secular pop, but it didn't mean I went out of my way to find her music. My wife, on the other hand, happens to like Grant's pop side, and occasionally still dusts off her cassette of Heart In Motion.

All of this said, I like the spin that is put on Grant's music on How The Years Go By. Ten of Grant's songs (including a few I'm not familiar with) are given the electronic treatment, with occasional acoustic guitars thrown in. Sounds like it's not the greatest mix? That's what I thought when I heard the first minute of this collection, but as you get used to the gentleness and break free of the song patterns you're used to, it becomes an alluring collection.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

If I had to compare the style to anyone, it would probably be either Enigma or Delerium - not that it clones their sounds, but that these songs would fit right in if this disc were slipped between them in your CD changer. (Strangely, only the vocalists are identified in this project. I'd like to have given full credit where it's due... so even though the musicians aren't named, their contributions are greatly appreciated.)

Some of these tracks work incredibly well. Vocalist Shelonda is hypnotizing on "Oh How The Years Go By," while Deena Norolan shines on "Nobody Home". ANd as for possibly one of the best-known tracks on this collection, "Baby Baby," vocalist Lisa Shimmin comes close to turning this track into her own. (This is one of only two tracks where any musicians are named - in this case, Mitchell Sigman providing guitar work.)

The one track I was concerned about was "El Shaddai" - a deeply moving religious piece which has charm even if you're not heavily into the God scene. Fortunately, this track is given the respect it deserves, and vocalist Mike Moore (the only male vocalist on this project) does a wonderful job. Regrets? Actually, I still would have liked to have heard this sung by one of the ladies who took part in this disc. No offense to Moore, but it's just so ingrained in my head.

Only two tracks on How The Years Go By don't live up to standards. The first, "Every Heartbeat," just finds itself lopping along to its own rhythm, completely ignoring the beat that the producers tried to create for the song to fit into. (With all due respect to vocalist Carina Norlund, this one is possibly the one Grant track I hate the most, so no one, not even Norlund, could raise my expectations.) The other, "It Takes A Little Time," just doesn't fit into the electronica groove, possibly because of its goofily trippy lyrics. Otherwise, Julie Moon does a respectable job.

How The Years Go By is an interesting body of work, and one which should pique the interest of Grant's fans. I didn't get a chance to let my wife listen to this disc (even I have deadlines to meet), but something tells me she'd be open to hearing what this disc has to offer - and she hates almost everything I listen to. That would be a high mark of praise if she liked this disc - and I think she will. I think you will, too.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Vitamin Records, and is used for informational purposes only.