Comment on any of the 3 blogs and be entered to WIN your own copy of Israel Houghton’s The Power of One! Chances are you’ll either love it or hate it :) Read on to find out which!
Joel Klampert – go to Klampert.com
Synopsis: I guess it’s only natural to start at the beginning of this CD with “my name iz”. Another opening by a kid voice. Sadly I’m not feeling that. A little over done. Then it kicks into a nice jam and already we can see the brilliant production. I mean this CD was put together so well. I have not been a huge fan of Israel in the past, but I do have his CD’s. This is a solo CD and not with the new breed. I don’t really know if that is the issue, but something seems lacking to me. The styles on this CD are all over the place so it does not feel very cohesive to me. The songs individual however do have a cool vibe. It crosses over some inspired raggae, john mayer style, classic gospel, and rock. I am a huge fan of gospell music and have been for a while. I have done sound for shirley ceasar and the mighty clouds of joy, so that should let you know I’m am aware of this style of music.
Bottom Line: This is an insanely produced CD. It showcases brilliant musicians and of course Israel has one of the best voices on the planet. I just found this CD to not be on par with songwriting wise with his other work. Songs like “alpha and omega” and “say so” or “friend of God” from his other CD’s pulled me in and gripped me. I can’t seem to find that connection on this one however. There are a few top notch tracks here. I think some of this is a departure from his other work. Because of that I cant say that if you liked him before you will now. What I will say is that everybody has different taste in music and even if you have or haven’t heard him before you need to give this CD a shot.
2.5 out of 5 stars
Must Haves: SING(redemptions song), Just wanna say, You found me
In Church: Well this one is simple for me. There is no way I could ever do any of these songs justice. Israel’s voice is off the chain brilliant. I can’t see even attempting any of these in church without one amazing worship team.
Alastair Vance – go to Live to Worship
Synopsis: Before I had listened to this record Joel had told me already that he did not like it. I did not think I would like it either but it took me by surprise. It starts off with (I assume) Israel’s daughter introducing him. She actually talks at various places on the album and to be honest I think Lincoln Brewster has started a bad trend here. That aside, the songs themselves are great!
It’s no Ron Kenoly album. Actually, it is really close to a various artists album… with all the different musical influences and guest vocalists. I was hearing musical influences (or tributes) to Stevie Wonder (on The Power Of One), Prince (on Saved By Grace) and John Mayer’s guitar (on Sing / Redemption’s Song). Guest vocalists include Mary Mary, Martin Smith and Toby Mac.
Bottom Line: The album has a great feel from start to finish. Israel has set himself a high standard with this. There is not a lot of songs I could actually take and use myself but that’s OK. These songs bring a smile to my face every time.
4 out of 5 stars
Must Have Songs: I like Just Wanna Say. The Power Of One is really good also and Sing / Redemption’s Song with Martin Smith is a cracker. I even like Surely Goodness as well, but I wish he wouldn’t shout out “JAMAICA!” at the start of it (is he Jamaican?). I’m not too fussed on Israel’s version of How Great is Our God.
Church Songs: It will totally depend on you, your band and your congregation. A lot of these songs require very talented musicians to do them justice. For me I don’t think I’d attempt any of these unless I had a super band to carry me. I do however like the slower tracks in the middle of the album where Israel’s voice shines through. Some of these may be easily adapted.
His Tribute Melody at the end of the album (minus his daugher’s goodbye chat) would work well in a lot of congregations.
Conner Byrd – stick around and be gentle with the hate mail
Synopsis: Israel Houghton just comes out and slaps a big one down for moving forward his style of praise and worship. I mean this project is ginormous and ambitious and attempts several different ’styles’ while still keeping Israel’s own personal mix of leading worship in tact. In addition, we find some interesting collaborations with some recognizable names in the Christian circuit: Martin Smith, Toby Mac, Mary Mary to name a few.
Israel also gives us our monies worth with 14 tracks coming in over an hour! A chorus from How Great is Our God is thrown into a medley and if you paid attention to the Hillsong London review, you’ll recognize a revamp of I Receive but otherwise, all new tracks to crank up. And the production is insane! Top notch.
Bottom Line: All that to say: it did nothing for me. Blacklist me and call me names but this just isn’t my bag baby Frankly, I was hoping to like this CD because I feel like the only kid who didn’t like Nirvana when everyone else drooled over them. Unfortunately, this CD has me feeling the same way my initial impressions did: I’m duly impressed by the musicality that Israel and his band put in to each song but…in the end I’m just tired and wondering if I actually sang anything substantial. Lyrically and musically it’s just too repetitive for me. I typically like the refrains but it’s just not enough. I always think I’m getting a solo but instead it’s like there’s so much going on with so many hooks from so many instruments it just washes over. There’s a weird mix too of fresh sounds like Usher, Andre 3000, John Mayer, some real soulful sisters, all the collaborations are insane and then there’s some stuff that comes off real cheesy to me that I don’t know if it’s on purpose b/c that’s that genre and I’m just not into it or what.
This is just so hard because talent wise I know it’s there, this just isn’t my kind of music. It’s not that he’s a slacker and made a bad CD, it’s just that I don’t like it.
If you were a fan before, you’ll probably eat this CD up!!! 5 OUT OF 5
If you weren’t then…yeah you’re still not. 1 out of 5
I must begrudgingly give it a 2 out of 5.
Must haves: I mean I dig the house party/Andre 3000 vibe of Just Want to Say. Sing with Martin Smith is probably my most solid favorite. It’s got Vultures/John Mayer vibe to it and it’s Martin Smith in there!
Church Songs: Yeah, it just depends on your church. I think there are clearly some songs that nobody’s church would cover or use and I wouldn’t categorize under “Praise and Worship” but then there are clearly some songs that are but I wouldn’t be able to use. That’d be totally up to you and you church culture. Not to mention your vocal range and band’s talent level! It’s hard for me to picture many of these without all bigness that Israel and company put into them.