Sunday, December 12, 2010

Israel Houghton: Love God, Love People Review


Israel Houghton recently released Love God, Love People, his third studio release, already highly critically acclaimed. It is not hard to see how Israel, worship leader of Lakewood Church, has already received several awards in his career with several GRAMMY nominations for this album. His unique gospel/hip-hop style makes it a completely unpredictable listen, taking you on tight turns you never saw coming.

The title track opens the album with a highly pop/hip-hop track asking God to show us how to “love God/ love people/ love my neighbor as myself/ my brother/ my sister/ everybody love somebody.” Having an ear for pop/dance style, I very much enjoyed the opening track. Near the end of the track, the title track takes on a high saxophone/jazz instrumental one never saw coming, and combines perfectly into “Yahweh (The Lifter),” slowing things down just a bit to be a high Latino track. Israel’s gospel voice was perfect for these gospel tracks, and his band complimented the tracks, as well. “Yahweh” is a gospel praise track thanking God for being “with us all the way.” At the end of the track, it almost sounds as if the album is skipping several beats, but it is only an added effect to the track.

“Love Rev,” short for Love Revolution, is speaking of loving one another and joining the love revolution. I enjoyed the intro to the song, as well as the Latino style, even though I personally think that the term “love revolution” seems to be way overused in today’s music. One asset to this track was the humorous references to a bad day (stuffy nose, late pizza delivery, etc). “That’s Why I Love You” is a praise song based on 1 John, that we love God because He first loved us. The campfire track was enjoyable, as well as the extra bass added to this track.

“Others,” based on piano, strings, and an acoustic guitar, speaks of the terrible conditions in today’s world, and cries out that God would show us how to love like He loves. “You Hold My World” begins on a campfire sound, as well, until it builds suddenly with a choir’s fill-ins. Sounding much like a Selah gospel track, I very much enjoyed this track, and thought it to be one of the main highlights from Love God, Love People.

“You Won’t Let Go,” is made possible by the strong drums (even getting its own solo a time or two), as the highly energized gospel track speaks of how God is always there and will never let us go. “Our God” reminded me of The Afters track “For the First Time” with finger snapping and worshipful lyrics remembering the greatness of our God.

“Mercies” aptly features Kirk Franklin as they “release the horns” on this upbeat Latino track, containing a reminder that even though life will not always be perfect, “help is on the way/ you gotta know/ tomorrow is another day/ His mercies are fresh every morning.” Kirk Franklin was the perfect guest to appear on Israel Hougton’s album, and so was Fred Hammond, who appeared on “Surprises.” The faint piano backing for “Surprises” was a nice addition to this track, a worship track praising Jesus that nothing could ever separate us from His love.

“Name of Love” is a bit of a slower pop track, but it’s booming drums and the whistling choir were perfect. “Name of Love” is a touching call to those who need saving to come in the name of love to find hope in Jesus. Finally, Love God, Love People ends with “Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher),” sounding much like Hillsong’s “More Than Life.” The high choir in the background of this worship song lifting the King of Kings provided a perfect ending to this album and a soothing one as well.

Israel Houghton’s Love God, Love People album featured many different types of styles combined into one, one reason why his music is so unique. The Latino tracks were very enjoyable, as were the slower worship tracks. However, I did not find that Israel’s latest CD was down my ally. Don’t get me wrong: the message and music of Love God, Love People is amazing, it just wasn’t my favorite. I would recommend it to gospel or Latino fans, but I do not expect that regular contemporary fans would enjoy the album all that much.

Rating: 3.5/5
Release date: August 31, 2010

Track listing:
1. Love God Love People
2. Yahweh (The Lifter)
3. Love Rev
4. That’s Why I Love You
5. Others
6. You Hold My World
7. You Won’t Let Go
8. Our God
9. Mercies (featuring Kirk Franklin)
10. Surprises (featuring Fred Hammond)
11. Name of Love
12. Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher)

2 comments:

  1. Nice review. I sure know where to go to get good positive reviews! ;) I liked Israel's song "My Nation Healed," but don't like the style overall, either. All the same, this really is a good review!

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  2. Why thank you, Alice! Glad you enjoyed the review! Your comments are always welcome! :)

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