Review: Love God. Love People. Israel Houghton


Thanks to Eddy Mann and Betty Nichols for sharing their thoughts on Israel Houghton’s newest release, Love God. Love People.

Genre: Gospel, Worship
Release Date: August 31, 2010

Eddy Mann

The Christian R & B scene remains in good hands with Israel Houghton’s new release “Love God, Love People”. Once again we’re blessed with a collection of songs that will move you, challenge you and refresh you.

Recorded at Abby Road studios in London, England [the home of all those great Beatle recordings]with the help of some notable gospel players, including Kirk Franklin [“Mercies”] and Fred Hammond [“Surprises”], the songs flow in and out of each other always with a connecting thread that ties up the biblical command that’s found in the opening title song.

The message is love… as in a world that needs to start thinking beyond itself. Throughout the twelve songs the theme is revisited successfully time and again.

Like in the past this release recognizes and pays homage to both spiritual and musical history. There are no shortage of influences here though this CD seems to have incorporated some more prevalent techno dance colors.

As usual there are a few wonderful worship and praise songs here. My personal favorite is “Others” a song that was first featured on “The Power of One” and here is given a new treatment of strings. A creative leader would also do well to present some simplified arrangements of “You Hold My World” and “That’s Why I Love You” to their congregation.

Israel has carved out an audience over the past twenty years and they won’t be disappointed with this release. I loved “Love God, Love People.”

Eddy Mann is the worship leader at Gloria Dei Church in Huntingdon Valley, PA… a versatile songwriter who has written for film as well as the church… he has taught music and religion in the Lutheran Educational system for over twenty years. | | Twitter

Betty Nichols

Got my CD of Israel Houghton’s “Love God, Love People” and have been playing it at home and in the car as I drive.

Very pleasant listen – good production, musicians, singers, songwriting, lyrics – good quality tracks overall – only a couple I could go ‘meh’ over. I especially liked the 1st track, “Love God, Love People” and the ones with Kirk Franklin – “Mercies” (“Release the Horns!”) and Fred Hammond – “Surprises”. More of a solo project than his work with New Breed.

This is a concept album, so the tracks segue right into each other, sometimes with talk or short musical interludes. The concepts are both musical and spiritual – the musical center around it being recorded in Abby Road studios, and the spiritual focus on the Biblical commandments to love God and one’s neighbor. Several tracks reference the latter (there is quite an emphasis on social issues in track like “Love Rev” and “Others”) , while musical Beatles and 60’s references are scattered throughout the album.

The style is mostly contemporary smooth-Jazz-inflected gospel, with a few guitar CCM-oriented songs, Israel singing in his signature high-tenor-alto range, with lots of backing vocals. On the title track the production and Israel seem to be channeling This-is-it era Michael Jackson; I was thinking “What is this, Israel Houghton going Auto-tune???” But unlike some other artists the vocal enhancement doesn’t seem trite, trendy or overused.

Songs that IMO could be adapted (and simplified, if needed) for praise teams –

That’s Why I Love You
You Hold My World

Overall- an excellent album…if you’re a fan of Israel Houghton’s genre-bridging style, you’ll enjoy it…

You can find Betty over at The Worship Community Forums discussing all things worship.

Pick up your copy of Love God. Love People over on iTunes.