'Real' by Israel and New Breed

(Integrity Music)
by Chris Well

As someone who often leads worship at churches and events all over the country (especially in his duties as National Director of Music and Worship for Champions for Christ), it's a wonder Israel would find any time to make a record. Fortunately for us, he found the time to make Real. Produced by the Grammy-winning Tommy Sims, it's a rich and textured spiritual journey that hits on several different musical flavors, all the while engaging the listener into a deeper state of worship.

Real gently sneaks in with an almost mournful string section, before the blurt of horns and disco strings kicks into a high-gear arrangement of "Better Than Life." The song builds a percussive groove (complete with dueling acoustic and eclectic guitars), before sliding nimbly into the 70s-funkified "Get Up." which urges listeners to "Get up/get up/put your praise on" to shades of Earth, Wind & Fire. From there, it's the hip-hop-flavored "'Bout It 'Bout It" and the soulful title track, the chorus of which playfully borrows the melody from Sly & the Family Stone. After getting the listener pumped up, Israel and New Breed scale things down with "Weight of Your Glory," which bridges into the hushed reverence of "Magnificent and Holy." "I Don't Want to Leave" and "I Still Love You."

Israel and New Breed clearly are having a great time - but never for a moment forget for whom they're doing this. The end result is that Real is a genuine urban pop album that lifts up genuine praise.

Reprinted by permission, U Magazine.

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