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Undercover Summer: Lead Me On

The latest installment of my "undercover summer" series is especially important to me. Somewhere around age 8 I got my hands on the Amy Grant album, Lead Me On on cassette. I don't think the tape belonged to me -- it was probably one of my parents' or my sister's originally -- but from the moment I popped it in my tape player and began memorizing every square inch of the lyrics printed in the liner notes, that cassette was mine. I don't know what became of that tape. so I don't have the evidence for this particular part of the memory, but I remember the printed lyrics having labels for the different song parts, so as I sat in my sun-streaked white bedroom, hunched over the tiny print as Amy belted out her emotions, I learned all about song structure.

In retrospect, the title track for the album, which you'll hear me cover below, was a weird one for an eight-year-old to listen to. I had no idea at the time that "the train labeled with the golden star" and "chambers made for sleeping forever" were holocaust references as I earnestly sang along. But those arresting images never left me, and when I did learn about the holocaust, the song was an important reference point for me.

After Heart in Motion, which I also loved, I wasn't such an avid Amy Grant fan. I moved on to other pop artists (like Mariah Carey), but I'll never forget what Amy taught me: how a chorus, a verse, and a bridge function; how songs can contain compelling images that stay with you forever; and that writing "Christian" music means writing about all of life, not just the shiny, happy, "religious" parts of it.

Hope you enjoy the video and its accompanying cover art as much as I enjoyed making it!

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