Picks and Pans Review: Simple Things

UPDATED 08/25/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/25/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

Amy Grant (A&M)

After last year's traditional gospel album Legacy ... Hymns & Faith, Amy Grant gets back into the pop spirit with her first secular studio disc since 1997. Long gone, though, is the bubblegum flavor of her 1991 No. 1 hit "Baby Baby." Instead, the singer brings a light country-pop/adult-contemporary touch to this CD that would make Faith Hill jealous. While Grant doesn't break any new ground on these 10 tunes, she succeeds by keeping things pretty simple with sweet melodies, straightforward arrangements and unfussy production that doesn't detract from her pure, relaxed voice. Vince Gill, Grant's husband of three years, sings and plays acoustic guitar on the romantic duet "Beautiful," one of only two songs that Grant didn't have a hand in writing. Later, on the introspective ballad "Innocence Lost," Grant addresses the shame that she felt after splitting with her first husband Gary Chapman in 1999: "One night I fought to sleep/In my slumber I turned and tossed/I woke to a cloudy day/Found my innocence lost." Grant also loses some credibility on the Sheryl Crow ripoff "Happy," a pop-rocker that sounds like a rewrite of "If It Makes You Happy." BOTTOM LINE: A Simple pleasure

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