Album of the Week: India Arie – "Testimony Vol.II – Love & Politics"

India.Arie has been in the business for quite a long time now. She has already released 3 LPs including a parted album of her testimonies. Her first testimony, “Testimony Vol.I: Life and Relationships” is filled with much energy, soul and her stories about having to live a life filled with contentment and happiness. India’s much soulful, smooth and much very piercing to the soul vocals delivered the entire album with much conviction and satisfaction. Now she released her second testimony, “Love and Politics” and it talks about romance and social issues. Now, she’s taking the level of her music to concern about the world we live in.

India’s commitment to providing her true expression is evidently well presented. She tells full yet inspiring stories through her impenetrable music. Soulful, yet easy to be listened to- This is what India’s music is all about. It’s amazing that she divided the entire album into two different topics but yet beautifully blended into a heart-piercing masterpiece. The first half talks about “Love” and the second half, she carefully tells different stories that are somehow worldly and globally inclined.

The first part, “Love” is somehow a very ear-friendly work of art. “Therapy”, which features reggae artis Gramps Morgan is a happy, effervescent track which she describes love as a therapy to her own body “Without you I’m weak in the knees, I need your therapy”, she sings with enthusiasm. Another track from the “love” part that caught the attention is “Chocolate High” which features vocals from Musiq Soulchild. “Chocolate High” is a sultry, caressing to the soul track which she describes LOVE like her addiction to a chocolate. It’s a pure, soul R&B track that just relaxes your subconscious whenever you listen to it. “He Heals Me” is somehow a little bit contrary to the former songs because this track shows a little bit of a teary-eyed characteristic. The track is somehow intended for India to show her appreciation and love for God.

Throughout the album India displays a variety of music. She induces worldly beats incorporated with lyrical compositions just suited for her mundane idealism. To further portray a new dimension of the album India even invited some world music artists like Turkish pop singer, Sezen Aksu which vocals were featured in the song “The Cure” and a singer, percussionist from the Ivory Cost, Dobet Gnahore which she gladly sings with on the cover of a Sade song, “Pearls”. With the presence of world music artists, India never failed to give the impression of a worldly, globally inclined lyrics with the songs “Ghetto” which is an upbeat Spanish guitar influence track that tells everywhere in the world has a ghetto. “Jamaica is a ghetto, Japan is a ghetto, America is a ghetto, Slovakia is a ghetto” she sings with aplomb.

The blend of two types of songs resulted in a very favourable way. The album is completely different from what she has done before. R&B and Soul was too much apparent from “Voyage to India”, “Acoustic Soul” and “Testimony 1”. Instead India decides to take a risk into placing flavours that she didn’t have before and fortunately, It didn’t result to a confusion to India’s identity as a singer instead it flourished India’s artistry, and personality in myriad ways.

RATING:

RELEASED: February 10, 2009 (US)

STAND-OUT TRACKS: “Chocolate High”, “Therapy”, “Pearls”, “Ghetto

BUY CD: Amazon

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