Album Review - Israel Houghton: Love God, Love People

As the front man for the worship powerhouse Israel and New Breed, Israel Houghton has recorded some of the most amazing worship albums of the last decade.  Love God, Love People is not one of those.

Because it's not a worship album.

Continuing on the theme of his debut solo release, The Power of One, which I loved, by the way, Iz extends his theme of social justice and personal activism. Houghton has big eyes - he sees the whole world as a mission field, and challenges us to put others before ourselves.  Gospel music with a clear message to do something, which is a message I can get behind.

As to the music, I think The Power of One was a better record, more tied together (thematically)  and more refined and eclectic musically.  Without the comparison, though, Love God, Love People seriously kicks.  I love the opening track, the title song, which introduces us to both Abby Road Studios and the theme of the record - if you love God, then you have to love people, too.

"Yahweh (the Lifter)" is another great gospel joint that I'm sure urban choirs will be adding to their repertoire soon.  "Love Rev" is a song that took me a couple of listens to figure out, but it's an eye-opener.  Kirk Franklin joins in on "Mercies," and in typical style, talks his way through half the song.

The low point of the record for me was the excessive auto-tune on "Our God," an otherwise beautiful song.  It made me long for a "Worship Leader Edition" like Iz did on The Power of One, where the songs were stripped down to barebones.  There's enough good acoustic guitar work on this record to make that worthwhile, I think.

I'd recommend listening to this record at least once through good headphones.  The production is killer, silky smooth and full-bodied.  The album ties together musically better than the last one, with a more consistent R&B/Gospel flavor, but then, I liked the diversity of One. 

Still, if you like urban gospel, or if your a fan of Iz (and you should be) then get this album when it releases August 31.


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