Al Green suffered a slight lull in his gospel career with 1984's Trust in God. As a response, he reunited with producer Willie Mitchell, who admittedly preferred the secular to the gospel. At this point, Green was unwavering in his faith and presents a challenge for He Is the Light. "Going Away" and "True Love" are great updates of the classic 1971-1976 sound with Green's dulcet, anxious vocals above an updated version of the sound that made him famous. The cover of "Be With Me Jesus" has Green in a playful mood despite the dire lyrics, and shows how Mitchell could coax vocals from Green no one else could. To Mitchell's credit, this album not only embraced Green's pop/gospel but also the newer sounds and styles Green had been working on in the '80s. The cover of the Clark Sisters' "You Brought the Sunshine" features adroit synth work and fun vocals. On the flip side, "Power," "Building Up," and "Nearer My God to Thee" are too cautious and quite boring. While He Is the Light finds Green in better voice than his last '70s efforts with Mitchell, it still has weak spots that prevent it from being a resounding success.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Elias