Ingrid D Johnson - What About Love? as reviewed in Phantom Tollbooth

Johnson asks ‘What about love?” John Lennon stated, ‘Love is the answer’, Christ lived a life of compassion and love. What about love?

What About Love?
Artist:           Ingrid D. Johnson
Label:           In The Closet Productions
Release Date: September 1, 2012
Duration:      15 tracks, 1:03:04

There is a shining, vibrant Christian artist in Ingrid D. Johnson. And I do mean artist, as Johnson is a poet, filmmaker, and musician. With strong Christian message and a heart for social justice shown throughout her work the listener encounters faith, relationships, and a generous offering of love in What About Love?. With vocal qualities at times similar to Diana Ross and Sarah Vaughn, and phrasing at times like Billy Holiday, Johnson delivers a gem.

Of a troubled past and finding a new life in Christ, “On My Own” gives a telling story of regrets and resolution with great R&B flavor highlighted by hot piano and lead guitar with a mix of spoken word in the lyrics to dramatize the message. “I’ve Got The Blues” shows why jazz and blues are so closely connected with great trumpet and bluesy vocals. Listening to this song and others on What About Love? leaves the listener scratching their head over learning this is Johnson’s first musical effort! This amazingly good. “Fri-enemy” is a pop-orientated social justice song of a different nature, that being between social classes.

The title track, “What About Love?”, has great message and great vocals accented by lead guitar while asking,

‘What about I’m sorry, what about forgiveness?
What about mercy, Oh, what about love?'

One of a number of tunes with reggae influence, “Opium Bride”  (re: young girls sold to pay a family’s debt) has smoldering beat with a strong message similar to a number of Sade’s songs. “Come Back” states; ‘Come back to the place I called you, don’t you know I love you, won’t you come back please?’, depicting how we fall to sin and how God calls us back to Him. Great trumpet and solid backbeat are also found in poppier numbers “It Was Me”, “Failing” and others.

“Stronger That I Thought” is a rocky blues anthem with great harmonies, strong poetry in the lyrics, and again superb trumpet by Phil Collins. This is a strong tune telling of times when we nearly give up and hope saves us. “Oh, Oh” (featuring Jayda Mushinski) pairs Johnson’s vocals pleading for change playing against two spoken pieces representing letters of failure and hurt from children to parents.

There are songs on What About Love? that elevate the overall collection to a much higher status due to superb production, great lead vocals and musicianship. While there are a fair number of relationship-based songs, there also are statements of love, compassion, and social justice in the form of pop, blues, R&B, and some jazz sounds. This is the rare kind of CCM release. Finally a touch of jazz in CCM. There’s been Sam Levine, Ray Lyon, and others, but jazz vocals are seldom found in CCM as they are here, along with blues and pop. Why jazz in CCM? For any number of reasons, particularly since jazz was born from gospel among other forms of music.

What About Love? compels the listener to ask this question for the themselves, their world and the world at large. Johnson asks ‘What about love?” John Lennon stated, ‘Love is the answer’, Christ lived a life of compassion and love. What about love?!

Scott S Mertens



{module Possibly Related Articles - Also search our Legacy Site}