Amazing Grace Analysis

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The title of the album, Amazing Grace, is one of the most famous Christian hymns that almost anyone can recognize and sing in a heartbeat. The hymn embraces a linkage to America’s religious culture and motto of “In God We Trust.” Thus, having “Amazing Grace” as part of the 33 1/3 series of books is not a surprise. Although the title of the album is familiar to most people, not many would be able to recognize its powerful history and impact behind the lyrics. Aaron Cohen, the author of Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace, successfully explores the process of creating the album to inform the readers about the crucial background and significant impact of Franklin’s soul and gospel music in the 1970s.
The first half of the book introduces the readers to the key characters who inspired and shaped Franklin in producing her album. Cohen strongly emphasizes Franklin’s church as the main place that started her career while singing in the choir. One negative but potentially positive aspect of the book is that the author weaves in large chunks of quotes,
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Cohen describes the general context of when, why, and how each song was written in a concise yet detailed manner. For example, in describing the first song of the album, “Mary, Don’t You Weep,” the author includes his own interpretation of the meaning behind the song that relates to the Book of John by saying that Jesus’s rising from the dead could refer back to early post-civil rights era (91). Additionally, the author remembers to describe the rhythmic style and pattern of her soul and gospel songs. By placing all of the soundtrack into one chapter at the end effectively allows the readers to witness the final work of the album that Franklin worked on in the beginning from

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