221. Behind The Eyes – Amy Grant

BEHIND THE EYES (1997)

Amy Grant

I have somewhat subconsciously divided Amy Grant’s career into three different phases: CCM Gold Girl, Mainstream Superstar and Post-Divorce singer-songwriter. The first phase takes her through Unguarded, while it is with Behind the Eyes, that the third stage seems to really kick in. After several well received mainstream releases, Behind the Eyes somberly walks through the pain and struggles associated with divorce, loss and pain, multiplied by doing so in such a public industry.

The great power of the record is the undying optimistic presences that permeates the sorrow and loss. This is most notable in “Like I Love You” which with a little tweaking could have been a huge country hit. Like most of the album there is a clear Nashvegas feel with a country feel amidst the powerful pop sensibility.

The album is more acoustic feeling than any album since Lead Me On and that always fit Grant’s earthy vocal best. “Takes a Little Time” became the biggest hit from the album and remains one of Grant’s strongest performances, especially in a live setting. The content serves as a great reminder for those struggling to rebuild their broken lives.

A personal favorite is “Cry a River” which is my favorite Grant penned tune in the post-divorce era. It’s floating melody and melancholy feel are captivating. The album closer “Somewhere Down the Road” perfectly sums up the entire theme of the album in a fitting fashion.

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  1. Oden Fong
    December 1, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Amy Grant has a unique and beautiful voice and style. I can tell that a song is being sung by her instantly upon hearing it. Truly a precious women and artist.

  2. Brian
    December 1, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Good divisions of Grant’s career.

  3. Shawn McLaughlin
    December 2, 2010 at 4:17 am

    Ignoring commercial and historical implications, I actually rank Behind The Eyes higher than Lead Me On. The latter definitely hasn’t aged quite as well as BTE still sounds vital today, as evidenced by the recent Grant release that unearths several out-takes from that era that sound surprisingly current. Emotionally, this record just KILLS. I started hearing rumors of marital unrest shortly after its release and, because of the amazing vulnerability of the lyrics, was not at all surprised when the news broke almost 3 years later. In terms of confessional, personal art, Behind The Eyes might be the most important record ever released in the CCM market place.

  4. David
    January 11, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    I guess these are good divisions of her career….but you seem to fail to realize that “Behind The Eyes” was released when she was still married to Gary Chapman. She didn’t separate from him well over a year from this release date…more like 15 months later. How this can be called “post divorce” is interesting. She and Chapman divorced in June 1999 – 17 years after their June 1982 wedding. “Behind The Eyes” was released in September 1997…although S.Mc is right, she and Chapman were in intense marital therapy at this time…they were still married.

    What I think is also interesting is that no one has classified her ‘remarriage’ as a section of her career…

  5. Greenchili
    March 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Love the divisions.. her first phase bubble gum pop music absolutely drove me crazy although she did manage to squeak thru a few memorable tunes during that time. There was one girl on my church who was always singing the track “My Fathers Eyes”… ugghh.

    Maybe we can dub her ‘remarriage’ section as her “Guppy” years?

  6. Jon
    March 10, 2011 at 6:21 am

    This may be my favorite Amy Grant album. I was going through a very painful divorce that I wanted nothing to do with, nor did I have any control over, at the time, and the song “Like I Love You” just killed me. I can’t tell you how many times I broke down and cried to that song. And the simple opening guitar riff is one of my favorites to this day of any of Amy’s songs. I’m not sure that this is her most important album or even her best work, but it had a huge impact on me, and was a real source of musical comfort at a time when I had little other comfort in my life.

  7. June 18, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Perhaps my 3rd favorite Amy’s album. It is quite an sad album. “Like I Love You” is my favorite from this album. I would say also that this was Amy’s last classic album…so far.

  8. Greg R.
    July 25, 2011 at 12:39 am

    I have to admit I don’t understand the critical regard for this album.I just don’t find much resonance in the songs..they don’t “stick” with me other than the stellar “Cry a River” which is the obvious highpoint of the disk and one of her most memorable tunes in her long career IMHO. I know she always idolized singer-songwriters like James Taylor and Joni Mitchell and I’m sure this release is near and dear to Amy but the comparatively “lightweight” HEART IN MOTION is compromised of better tunes to my ears. (And I absolutely *love* Mitchell’s BLUE album and Taylor’s SWEET BABY JAMES so this isn’t a knee-jerk anti-singer-songwriter bias on my part.)

  9. Kit
    November 29, 2011 at 6:39 am

    “Nobody Home” was always a favorite of mine.

  10. Wee Little Man
    July 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    While definitely an album that struggles with the unhappiness of being trapped in a bad marriage, this album came out in 1997. Amy didn’t file for divorce until 1999. So technically not a “post-divorce” album. But surely an overture that it was imminent.

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