Amy Grant released her first mainstream album, Heart In Motion, thirty years ago. I was 15 years old. That was a long time ago.
I have so many memories of this album. I don’t remember how I became acquainted with it, but, I do remember that it was Heart In Motion’s first single, “Baby Baby” that made me a fan. Eventually, I bought the album (the cassette).
Once “Every Heartbeat,” the album’s second single, was released, I started liking Heart In Motion a lot more. But, one thing I never realized, until recently, was that the album itself marked my first real encounter with Christian music.
Amy released Heart In Motion as a mainstream album, an opportunity for Amy to gain success outside the Christian music industry. And, it was a success. The album was certified five-times platinum in the United States alone!
She released five mainstream singles—all success stories. As Amy released single after single, the more I liked her music. Some songs, more than others, had a profound impact.
I was a hopeless romantic teenager, so the words, “Classic case of boy meets girl/Moving in the same direction/You're not asking for the world/I’m not asking for perfection/Just a love that's well designed/For passing the test of time/I’m here to tell you/I’m here to stay/Every hour, every day” made me sing. It sounds like a lot of the poetry I wrote in high school. Since then, this poor song has been killed with remix after remix. I’m quite happy with the original or edited/radio versions, thank you. No need to kill good art.
“That’s What Love Is For”
This ballad is, by far, my favorite song on the album. It was a Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 single. Do you ever have a song that you play over and over again? A song, that when you think of your teen years, comes up in those memories? “That’s What Love Is For” is one of those songs for me. I used to record this song on many mixed tapes (I still have those tapes). I knew the lyrics. Well, I used to. Age makes you forget (kind of).
As a teen, I couldn't fully comprehend the song's message: "Melt our defenses/Bring us back to our senses/Give us strength to try once more/Baby, that's what love is for." The takeaway: forgiveness is the fuel that helps relationships survive.
I listened to this song more in my college years. I couldn’t appreciate the song fully as a teenager. According to The Chicago Tribune, Amy Grant wrote the song about a friend’s struggle to cope with memories of childhood sexual abuse. It’s a very potent song. But, one that makes me angry about these injustices in the world. Ask her how she knows there's a God up in the heaven/Where did He go in the middle of her shame?/Ask her how she knows there's a God up in the heavens/She said His mercy is bringing her life again.
“I Will Remember You”
This song makes me so emotional. The words, So many years come and gone/And yet the memory is strong/One word we never could learn/Goodbye/True love is frozen in time/I’ll be your champion and you will be mine chokes me up every time I hear it. When I listen to the song, depending on when it makes me think of old friends I used to spend time with long ago. The song should’ve been called “Reflections of the Past (Tears).”
“Hope Set High”
“Hope Set High” was released to Christian radio. For me, this is the most impactful song on the album: “When it all comes down, if there’s anything good that happens in life, it’s from Jesus.” I wasn’t walking with Christ when I was a teen, but that truth still rattled my heart. The Chicago Tribune called the song ‘the most explicit Christian song on the album.’ They’re absolutely right.
Paul Phillips is a Canadian journalist with over 10 years of experience writing and editing digital and print content. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, and travel. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus.
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